Savvy shoppers queueing up to snap up food near sell-by date

Iseult Ward, a co-founder ofFoodCloud.

People are queueing to snap up food near its sell-by date.

More than a third of consumers seek out “short sell-by date” produce.

Shoppers visit super- markets at the end of the day to grab heavily discounted food and drink products close to their sell-by date.

Queueing at the bargain section in the supermarket has now become as commonplace as the takeaway on a Friday night as savvy shoppers wait for a plummet in prices on certain items.

Meat and fish along with fresh produce and bakery products are all in the mix.

In a survey of 1,000 shoppers, 39% of women and 33% of men reported purposely seeking short-date products at the end of the day.

And those in the 55-plus age group are more likely than any other age group to trek to the supermarket in search of the late evening bargains.

The study by Empathy Research for Checkout magazine found 44% of those 55-plus and only 25% of 18- to 24- year-olds seek out discounted products.

Shoppers in the 55-plus age group are also more likely than other age groups to seek out short-date items.

Savvy shoppers queueing up to snap up food near sell-by date

The survey found 36% visit supermarkets at the end of the day for the cut-price food and drink items. Just 31% of the 25- to 34-year-olds and 38% of 35- to 44-year-olds seek out the bargains.

Respondents were also asked whether they felt ‘use-by’ dates on products were more of a ‘guideline’ than a ‘deadline’ when it came to product consumption.

One in five consumers said they see use-by dates as more of a ‘guideline’, with more women holding this opinion.

Shoppers were concerned about food waste within the home, with 63% of women compared to 53% of men worried about food waste.

Just under one in 10 said they would be more likely to shop at a particular supermarket if they knew it donated food to charity.

Commenting on the findings, Iseult Ward, co-founder of FoodCloud — a group set up to redistribute surplus food to charities — said it was encouraging that the majority of consumers surveyed were concerned about food waste.

“In Ireland, we waste over 1m tonnes of food every year and up to 60% of this is avoidable. This shows the scale of the issue we are trying to tackle.”

Savvy shoppers queueing up to snap up food near sell-by date

She added that, in the last 12 months, working with more than 150 firms, including major supermarket chains, FoodCloud has redistributed more than 1m meals to charitable groups across Ireland.

Stephen Wynne-Jones, editor of Checkout magazine, said: “While the economic situation is improving for many consumers, the fact that 36% still regularly seek out short-date products is an indication of the continued high demand for value in the supermarket sector.

“Many people go in to supermarkets specifically at the time in the evening when the items are discounted. It can be any short sell-by date items such as meat fish, fruit, veg, bakery and other products.”


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