Sometimes we eat recycled food.
No, we don’t dumpster dive (although that would be an interesting experience). Rather, we discovered a whole new shopping experience: the discount grocery store.
I had heard of discount food stores before; usually stores full of day-old and surplus baked goods (anyone else ever hit the McGlynn’s outlet store? Pastry Heaven!). But the discount grocery we learned about is more than breads and such. It is a full-fledged grocery store, one where everything is essentially always on sale. And how can everything always be discounted? Because it is (kind of) recycled food.
How it works is discount grocery retailers find deals on products that are closeouts, overruns, short-dated, or otherwise still good items that other stores for whatever reason want off of their shelves. Rather than discarding these unwanted items, places like Mike’s Discount Foods source them for their customers. Big retailers, discount retailers and customers all win with this model. Where big retailers get money back for product, discount retailers have reduced costs they then pass on to customers. What a great way to help reduce the food waste epidemic!
There are some things to watch for at discount grocery retailers. Pay attention to expiration dates to see if you will be able to fully take advantage of particular items. Making sure you understand the difference between different grocery date lingo will help. Also, take into consideration the needs of your family – will you finish that 50 oz. bag of cereal before it gets really stale? Finally, think of the storage space of your home – and your vehicle. We almost had to leave a child behind after finding an amazing deal on 24oz. loaves of Udi’s bread. After getting those loaves home, it was an epic Tetris-like feat to get it all in the freezer.
Yes, I got it all in without squishing anything. Tetris was kind of my jam back in the day.
A quick search may reveal discount grocery retailers in your own area. I encourage you to check them out! We find that the constantly rotating stock makes each trip a bit of an adventure. You may find a crazy ridiculous deal, a new favorite product, or rediscover an old favorite…speaking from experience.