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44% of Brits Want Discounts on Near-Expired Food to Cut Costs

In an effort to cut down on food waste, UK consumers are expressing a strong desire for supermarkets to offer discounts on products approaching their expiry dates, despite recent moves by retailers to eliminate best-before labels.

Retail Insight, a leading provider of store operations execution software, has uncovered through its research that a significant portion of the UK retail sector, estimated by WRAP to be around 200,000 tonnes last year, is attributable to food waste.

Supermarkets such as Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Waitrose have removed best-before dates from fresh produce to address this issue. Aldi and M&S have also recently followed suit by removing use-by dates on fresh milk.

Retail Insight's survey of over 1,000 UK shoppers found that nearly two-thirds (65%) believe that removing best-before dates from supermarkets will aid in reducing food waste.

Furthermore, 84% of respondents feel that retailers should continue to offer discounts on fresh food past its prime. Additionally, 44% of those looking to stretch their food budgets further are calling for the reinstatement of best-before dates and associated discounts.

With food prices remaining high, 86% of consumers report that inflation has made them more conscious of their budgets, and 82% are actively seeking ways to lower their food expenses, marking a 16% increase from the previous year. This has led to a greater reliance on discounted or near-expiry food items.

Retail Insight notes that 40% of shoppers now primarily purchase reduced-price food items, with 37% opting for groceries close to their expiry date to save on food costs. Moreover, 30% of consumers are buying more discounted groceries than before, with 44% adjusting their shopping habits to take advantage of end-of-day discounts.

Paul Boyle, CEO of Retail Insight, emphasised the importance of retailers finding a balance between fulfilling ESG commitments to reduce food waste, increasing product sell-through, and maintaining customer satisfaction. He advocates for the use of dynamic markdowns, which calculate the optimal discount price for a product as it nears the end of its shelf life, thus maximising sales and minimising waste and loss.

This approach not only ensures that margins and demand opportunities are maximised but also supports retailers in selling more while wasting less.

Retail Insight's cloud-based solution, WasteInsight, employs cognitive technology to provide retailers with data-driven insights for managing food waste, enabling dynamic markdowns, improving expiration management, facilitating donations to charity, and enhancing forecasting accuracy.


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