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The same food, but for less!

Posted 04 August 2015

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Getting your favourite foods for less would make anyone happy. So use our tips to start buying big brands at rock-bottom prices.

Saving money is something we all want, isn’t it? Especially, if we can get the foods we love at rock-bottom prices. And that’s exactly what we can do if we shop savvy and use discount food retail shops and sites. These are different to Aldi and Lidl, who stock cheaper versions of the products we love, in that they stock the brands we crave, but at knock-down prices, because the stock is near to its best before date. 

There was a time, not so long ago, when buying anything past its best before date was a real no-no. However, things have changed and it’s now well-recognised that certain foods can, and do, last much, much longer than the use by date written on them. 

Is after ‘best before’ safe?

First, let’s find out what the different dates on food mean, so you know what you’re looking for:

The ‘display until’ or ‘sell by’ dates – you don’t have to worry about these, they’re just for the shop keeper so they know how long they can have the item for sale for.

The ‘best before’ date is just that. If you want to eat the item at its best, eat it before this date. If you eat it after this date, it’s not going to harm you, it just might not taste as good. 

The ‘use by’ date is the one you really need to pay attention to. After this date, the food may start to spoil, so if you want to eat it, do so before this date passes.

So, the answer to the question is, yes, foods eaten after the best before date are safe. 

Things to look out for

So, now you understand the dates, here are a few of the common foods you can buy that’ll last well past any date printed on them:

  • crisps and biscuits – they may have lost a bit of crunch, but they’re still okay.
  • chocolate – again, it might discolour slightly, but that won’t affect the quality.
  • all hard cheeses, such as the Englishman’s favourite, cheddar.
  • anything that’s pickled or salted or dry cured – these are all preserving techniques so you can keep the items for a long time.
  • dry goods – that’s peas, lentils, rice, spices, dried herbs…you get the picture

everything that’s dried will last many, many months. If you use spices, you might find that they lose a little of their pungency, but they’re still okay to use.

    • sugary foods – sugar acts like a preservative too, so anything with large amounts –  jams spring to mind – would be perfectly fine for many months. And honey really does last forever.  
    • eggs – these can be kept for up to five weeks, but they must be kept a room temperature. If you’re unsure as to their freshness, just submerge them in water and if they move into an upright position, they are on their way to going off. If you crack one, you’ll soon know if it’s still safe to eat or not. 


Where to get them

Discount food stores have popped up all over the place, we’re sure you’ve seen Poundland and Home Bargains – two of the most successful discount food shops. But there are also a number of online retailers you gather your goodies in too. Approved food is probably the most well-known and has a large assortment of your store cupboard favourites. For example they’re currently selling:

Ryvita Pumpkin Seed and Oats 200g – £0.59 each or two for £1.00 – should be £0.99 each  

Nairns Dark Chocolate Chip oat biscuits 96 x 20g – £4.99 – should be £24.99!

Rice Krispies 510g – £1.00 – should be £2.79       

But keep in mind that there’s a £17.50 minimum order value and a minimum delivery charge of £5.99, so you need to factor this into your purchased to make sure it’s still worth it. 

Try this method of shopping and we guarantee you’ll be stocking up on the brands you know and love and saving a packet at the time.

by Shelley Bowers

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