“When in doubt, throw it out.” It’s an expression we’ve all heard in regards to spoiled food. Sometimes this can resort to just looking at the date on the food package and deciding that if it’s on the date or after, we’ll pitch it and move on. Doing this creates a massive amount of food waste, as some food can last far beyond the date listed on the product. To help curb this issue, A Norwegian supermarket is specializing solely in expired food, and people are already really excited about the approach.
Best For offers products that other marketplaces won’t even stock. Many stores in Norway will turn down products that are even within 10 days of their expiration or best buy dates. Even after the date, as long as the product is still safe to consume, Bes For will sell it at a lower cost. It’s a major benefit for low-income families and will cut into the problem of food waste.
That issue is what spawned the idea for Naeeh Ahmed, the operations manager at Best For. He believes that this model will benefit everybody involved with lower costs and curbing food waste, explaining, “Some who believe in the cause are very positive but, any new concept takes a little time in the market. It is going well though … every person in Norway knows these days that now is the time to do something before it is too late.”
Technology is also helping out other supermarkets pinpointed their near-expired goods. According to The Guardian, Best For has the ability to scour the markets to find food that’s around their ending dates to sell at their stores or they’ll give it to charities. Mobile apps like Foodlist gives the ability for customers to take pictures of items about to expire and where they can be found.
One-third of all food produced in the world is wasted. In richer countries like the United States, a lot of is due to improper organization and not understanding terminology. Not all dates are equal on food packages. For example, “sell by” refers to when the product should be bought and is generally for store purposes. “Best if used by” again refers to freshest taste, and not safety of consumption.
Not many products continue to be labeled with “use by” dates. It also helps to know general shelf life of commonly used items in the household and to learn some tips. For example, a loaf of bread can be extended by a few weeks when keeping it in the fridge. Eggs can often last for over a month and for those in doubt, they can place these eggs in a bowl of water. Generally speaking, if it doesn’t float in said water, it can be used. Pasta and frozen items can last for many months after their already lengthy date.
Another way to help curb this issue is phasing out the “sell by” time stamp. The food industry is fighting companies that want to push their product out at the most optimal time so they can retain their image. However, doing this only adds to the food waste problem. It might be gross to think about initially, but plenty of food items past these dates are still fully consumable. For a cheaper price, we’re benefiting those with smaller incomes and eliminating waste.