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Canadian grocers use app to promote surplus food about to expire

Dive Brief:

  • Two Ontario grocers, Longo’s and Farm Boy, are using the Flashfood app to notify customers when food nearing its “best before” date goes on sale, according to Progressive Grocer. Users can pay for the food through the app, then pick it up that same day in-store.
  • Flashfood CEO Josh Domingues told Progressive Grocer that while the company is currently working just with Canadian retailers, he would like to expand the service to U.S. grocers in the future.
  • Flashfood estimates customers who regularly use its app can save as much as $3,700 per year.

Dive Insight:

Grocery retailers would rather sell food than throw it away, but effectively merchandising food that’s nearing its expiration date — or in this case, its “best before” date — is challenging. Consumers are very wary of these dates even though in both Canada and the U.S. they indicate freshness and quality more than food safety. For retailers, calling attention to surplus food, even through steep discounts, can look bad.

As a result, most retailers play it safe and take products off shelves that have passed their peak of freshness. Produce and meat often get repurposed by the prepared foods and deli departments, while packaged goods are often donated to food banks. There’s also quite a bit that...

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