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Thrifty Shoppers Seek Out Short-Date Products

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Supermarket aisle

A study by Empathy Research for Checkout magazine has found that more than a third of shoppers (36%) regularly visit a supermarkets at the end of the day to avail of heavily discounted products close to their short sell-by date.

The survey of 1,000 shoppers found that more females (39%) than males (33%) purposely seek out ‘short date’ products at the end of the day.

Shoppers in the 55+ age group (44%) are also more likely than other age groups (25% of 18-24 year olds, 31% of 25-34 year olds, 38% of 35-44 year olds and 35% of 45-54 year olds). to seek out short date products.

“While the economic situation is improving for many consumers, the fact that 36% still regularly seek out ‘short-date’ products is an indication of the continued high demand for value in the supermarket sector,” said Stephen Wynne-Jones, editor, Checkout.

Respondents were also asked whether they felt ‘use-by’ dates on products were more of a ‘guideline’ than a ‘deadline’ when it came to product consumption. One in five consumers (21%) say they believe use-by dates to be more of a ‘guideline’, with female consumers (24%) more of this opinion than males (18%).

Finally, respondents were also asked whether they were concerned about food waste. 58% of respondents say they are concerned about food waste within their home, with female respondents (63%) more likely than males (53%) to cite this as a concern.

Just under one in ten respondents (9%) said they would be more likely to shop at a particular supermarket if they knew it donated food to charity.

Commenting on these findings, Iseult Ward, co-founder of FoodCloud, which was set up to redistribute surplus food to charities, said, “It is encouraging that the majority of consumers surveyed are concerned about food waste, and at FoodCloud we aim to grow awareness of the issue amongst Irish consumers. In Ireland, we waste over 1 million tonnes of food every year and up to 60% of this is avoidable. This shows the scale of the issue we are trying to tackle.”

In the last 12 months, working with over 150 businesses (including almost every Tesco store), FoodCloud has redistributed over one million meals to charitable groups across Ireland.