Frugal foodies are on the rise, but can we save a pretty penny and save the planet?

FI-lapproved food

In 2015, online shopping turned 21. These days, many of us turn to the web to bag a bargain – coupons, sales and discounts are practically everywhere – and now you can fill your store cupboard for less thanks to Approved Food. But this is a slightly different operation, and one that benefits from supermarket wastage. Curious? Read on.

We’ve written before about the amazing work that places like Skipchen in Bristol do, and Approved Food dances to a similar tune while appealing to our need for convenient, discount-heavy shopping.

In the battle of the supermarkets, budget retailers are proving a popular destination amongst consumers on the hunt for bargains. Rapidly expanding retailers Lidl and Aldi have taken a sizeable share of the market from the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury’s, which is surely the sign of a savvy nation that loves a discount.

supermarket

This is good news for Dan Cluderay and Andy Needham, the Yorkshire duo behind online retailer Approved Food, which was founded in 2009. Despite being turned down for investment by Dragons’ Den in February 2015 (what do those Dragons know?), the Sheffield-based company has experienced great success and claims to offer to offer savings of up to 70 per cent on each grocery basket. But how?

Once packaged products go beyond (or near) their best before date, most make their way to landfill. In 2013, supermarkets were responsible for 200,000 tonnes of food waste (that’s 1.3 per cent of all food waste in the UK), some of which can be attributed to products that have exceeded their best-before dates.

These are the goods that Approved Food are snapping up at rock-bottom prices – the ones that are nearing or have exceeded their best-before dates, but are still within their use-by dates and therefore still safe to eat – and passing the savings on to you. Clearly the products on the site change according to what’s available, but you’ll always be able to stock your store cupboard for less.

Following Cluderay’s recent television appearances on ITV’s Bargain Fever Britain and Loose Women, visitors have flocked to the site in droves. However, as much as we’re a nation of bargain lovers, according to government statistics we Brits throw away a whopping 7.2 million tonnes or £12 billion-worth of food and drink from our homes every year, most of which would have been perfectly fine to eat.

food wastage

Government advisory body Waste and Resources Action Programme (or WRAP) blame food labelling for some of this wastage. A recent report found that retailers tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to deciding how long products can be used for once opened, and ‘display until’ codes used by supermarkets can be mistaken by consumers for ‘use by’ dates.

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Sian Griffiths

Sian is an ex-Fed Up & Drunker who has now been released into the wild.

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