Grocery stores that now advocate buying food past its prime are rebelling against the idea that the expiration date reigns supreme in the food world.
A tiny town called Schagen in North Holland has become the home of a small, makeshift outlet supermarket called Outlet Stam,run by local grocer Willem Jan Stam . Stam claims that he started the project to speak out against troublesome food waste issues.As a nation, the U.S. wastes around $100 billion of food each year.
At Outlet Stam, products set to expire in the near future are offered at a discounted price, with some products’ prices reduced by up to 70 percent. For example, containers of yogurt set to expire the next day are marked down to a quarter of their original price.
Cost-conscious consumers are responding well to Stam’s idea, and the popularity of buying discounted, nearly expired food has spread in both Europe and North America. On the humanitarian side, Doug Rauch, a former chief executive of Trader Joe’s, has launched the Urban Food Initiative to sell expired foods to those in need at a discounted price.
While the expiration dates on some products like baby food should always be heeded, other products experience only a slight decline in quality and can be consumed safely after their sell-by date.
If you’re looking for a way to make a difference, the trend of buying food past its expiration date may be a way to cut down on global hunger, while cutting down the costs of your grocery bill.