Anyone know what happens to near-expired food items in grocery stores?

Sodium Pentothal
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Anyone know what happens to near-expired food items in grocery stores?

Does the store throw them out or do they donate them or do they give them to their employees or what?

 

I imagine if they gave them out to the general public, everyone would stop shopping and just wait until these free giveaways lol. 

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They don't get rid of them

They don't get rid of them until they are expired - they usually reduce the price when it gets close. Once they expire many of them donate to food banks.

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Sodium Pentothal

Sodium Pentothal wrote:

Does the store throw them out or do they donate them or do they give them to their employees or what?

 

I imagine if they gave them out to the general public, everyone would stop shopping and just wait until these free giveaways lol.

As far as bread goes, it's usually donated to food banks.  

Dairy products are usually returned for partial credit.  I imagine meat products are similar, but I'm not certain.

Bakery/deli items are usually just thrown away, especially prepared dinners.  

Canned goods rarely go out of date on the shelf, but if they do I think it's just thrown away for a total loss.   


Sodium Pentothal
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jmm wrote: Sodium

jmm wrote:
Sodium Pentothal wrote:

Does the store throw them out or do they donate them or do they give them to their employees or what?

 

I imagine if they gave them out to the general public, everyone would stop shopping and just wait until these free giveaways lol.

As far as bread goes, it's usually donated to food banks.

Dairy products are usually returned for partial credit. I imagine meat products are similar, but I'm not certain.

Bakery/deli items are usually just thrown away, especially prepared dinners.

Canned goods rarely go out of date on the shelf, but if they do I think it's just thrown away for a total loss.

interesting.

 

do you or anyone know why exactly grocery stores don't just give these food items away if they're going to throw them away?  is it simply because they don't want people to start taking advantage of that? 

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Sodium Pentothal

Sodium Pentothal wrote:
jmm wrote:
Sodium Pentothal wrote:

Does the store throw them out or do they donate them or do they give them to their employees or what?

 

I imagine if they gave them out to the general public, everyone would stop shopping and just wait until these free giveaways lol.

As far as bread goes, it's usually donated to food banks.

Dairy products are usually returned for partial credit. I imagine meat products are similar, but I'm not certain.

Bakery/deli items are usually just thrown away, especially prepared dinners.

Canned goods rarely go out of date on the shelf, but if they do I think it's just thrown away for a total loss.

interesting.

 

do you or anyone know why exactly grocery stores don't just give these food items away if they're going to throw them away? is it simply because they don't want people to start taking advantage of that?

Well I guess it's different with bread, because near-expired bread won't exactly make you sick, it just won't taste as good as fresh bread.  But with dairy and meat products (especially poultry), you can get violently ill and possibly die if the meat is outdated, so I guess they just don't want to risk the chance or lose the credit.  It's mostly the same with the bakery/deli, since quite a few of their prepared dishes contain meat, dairy or both.  I think they usually donate the bread and donuts along with the bread from the regular bread aisle. 


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Sodium Pentothal

Sodium Pentothal wrote:

Does the store throw them out or do they donate them or do they give them to their employees or what?

 I imagine if they gave them out to the general public, everyone would stop shopping and just wait until these free giveaways lol.

It really depends on the store.  Most often they'll get marked down near the expiration date then simply tossed in the trash after expiration. Businesses tend to frown on giving them out to employees because the said policy of many places is that employees won't purchase items and simply hide items they want until they expire to get them for free.

Independent shops will vary especially those places that make items like bread or ice cream daily.  Since the items are expected to expire they can develop a program with charities.

Now if you are wanting free items for a charity then you can simply represent one and ask the store's owner or manager to start a program where the charity will pick up the excess on a weekly or daily basis.  The stores won't deliver and they don't want to keep excessive inventory around because there is limited storage space for things they can't sell. 


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I just thought of something

I just thought of something odd.  I used to work at Lowe's, in the lumber department, and when we had lumber that was either damaged in shipping or had become warped due to weathering, the managers insisted that we throw it away rather than give it to charity or people willing to take it.  I always thought that was a stupid policy. 


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You probably need to do a

You probably need to do a little research on this subject in relation to store loss.

Marking Products down is one of the primary areas retailers watch for internal loss. What I have heard but have never seen data to corroborate is when you create a program where items are given away, your loss increases.  Not only do the "bad" folks abuse this mechanism but also those trying to do "good". They tend to move things to the back before they are suppose to (well before the cut-off period), not shelf (move items up-front) items close to expiration dates etc, all done with good intentions. The act of marking things down, apparently inhibits this mind set, since it isn't really giving it away.

Not sure how much weight that theory holds but that is the excuse I have heard. I've never seen data to back it up, but it might be out there.

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I suspect in the case of

I suspect in the case of Lowe's, with warped/damaged lumber, it's an insurance issue (as are most things in our litigious society). If they give it to a charity or someone willing to take it, and that person or charity builds a house and the house collapses because of the bad lumber, they'll look to sue Lowe's. And even if Lowe's makes them sign a waiver or something similar, it won't stop a lawsuit (and the resulting bad PR)...

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There are several bakery

There are several bakery type stores in my area such as Panera Bread and the St. Louis Bread Company that donate all unsold bread items to groups that feed the homeless.

Since these places bake fresh items daily, the donations are made each night when the store closes. 

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You guys have to remember

You guys have to remember that if you're talking about America, you're talking about the most litigious society in the history of the universe.  The thing about Lowes and the wood is exactly correct.  I know that for sure.  They are not allowed to give it away in order to avoid potential lawsuits. 

I can't answer for grocery stores, but i own a restaurant, and most of the smaller distributors (read: not Cisco) take back expired product and either exchange it or give a substantial credit.  Basically, the smaller distributors would rather have a larger market than lose a vendor, so they exchange.  The big vendors don't give a shit, because they won't even notice the loss of one vendor who's pissed off that their product didn't move.   The other reason is that lawyers are clever buggers, and if they notice that the vendor who sold out of date food doesn't have a lot of money, they'll go after the distributor and try to sue them.

If there's one thing I've learned about business, it's this:  If you don't understand why something is being done, it's because you don't know where the money's going.

 

 

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