It sounds off-putting at first: A grocery store that sells outdated food.But salvage stores are making headlines again, as consumers look for ways to stretch their grocery budgets amid rising prices.
In an intriguing Atlantic article, Nadia Arumugam takes a walk through the County Discount Grocery in Wautoma, Wisconsin, where expired cans of Campbell’s chunky soup and jars of blueberry jam line the shelves and consumers cash in on the savings.
Much of the discarded food, which comes from regular old grocery stores and supermarkets, is sold at nearly half the original price, according to the store owner Arumugam, whom we spoke with. Cookies might be sold for 60 cents instead of $1.30, while a can of soup might go for 80 cents or less, down from $1.70.
That’s a serious savings at a time when “budget foods” like eggs, pork and ground beef shot up over 10 per cent in 2011 and fast-casual chains like Chipotle did away with promotions to inch up their prices.
Despite the old dates, dusty box tops and split dressings, the food isn’t all that bad (or bad for you), according to Dr. Ted Labuzza, a food science professor at the University of Minnesota. He tells the Atlantic:
“Foods can remain safe to consume for some time beyond sell-by and even use-by dates provided they are handled and stored properly … their quality might suffer — for example, emulsified dressings may split — they will not pose a safety hazard unless contaminated.”
Since federal regulations hardly require product labelling beyond milk and baby formulas, the groceries present a viable means to cut costs that even the most health-conscious of consumers can get behind. (See 15 ways to get the hot bod you’ve always wanted by changing your diet.) Most of the shoppers quoted in the article wouldn’t touch the dairy products but otherwise found the cereals, granola bars, oatmeal and other non-perishable snacks to taste just fine.
Visit TheAtlantic.com to read the full article.
Tell us: Have you shopped at salvage grocery stores? How was the food and would you shop there again?
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