A supermarket chain has become the first big retailer to sell food after its "best before" date in an attempt to cut down on £500 million of waste a year in Britain.
Now the Co-op stores in its East of England division will sell these products in 125 outlets instead at a nominal mark down price of just 10p each.
Food waste has become a major issue with the government estimating that around £16 billion worth of produce - equivalent to £700 for every United Kingdom household - is thrown away each year.
He told The Grocer magazine that items were flying off the shelves within an hour of them being reduced during the scheme's trial period.
Best before dates are about quality - not safety - and food is safe to eat after this date but may be past its prime, according to the Food Standards Agency.
'The vast majority of our customers understand they are fine to eat and appreciate the opportunity to make a significant saving on some of their favourite products.
Wrap is overseeing a major simplification of labelling with consumers often unaware of the difference between a use-by and a best-before date.
While a large amount of waste includes perishable items that are no longer safe for human consumption, it is thought the confusing labelling system means a huge amount of perfectly edible food goes in the bin. East of England Co-op has also launched a new "reduced to clear" policy which will increase the amount of discounts for products nearing their use-by dates. The products will remain on sale for a month past their best-before date. Customer recycling points and recycling facilities for stores help manage packaging waste, and partnerships between local suppliers in the East of England Co-op's award-winning Sourced Locally range helps local produce travel even shorter distances, reducing the Co-op's carbon footprint.
The 10p discounted food can not be donated to charities such as food banks as they now do not accept food after its "Best Before" date. Thanks to the generosity of Co-op customers, donations for more than 80,000 meals were collected past year and donated to 22 food banks across the East Anglia.
The retailer estimates the initiative will prevent at least 50,000 products a year being thrown away.