For house brand products, we used an additional date apart from the statutory date ('best before' and 'to be used until'): 'To be sold until'. In fact, this date only mattered for internal processing purposes, but often confused the customer. Many products were thrown out unjustly, because the customer thought they were past their expiry dates.
From March 2013 onwards, the 'to be sold until' date is no longer used. The customer has been informed by means of the brochures.
Colruyt Group wishes to give customers sufficient time to use their product before the date expires. That is why products were removed from the shelves 3 days before the expiry date (or before the 'to be sold until' date in case of house brand products). From March 2013 onwards, we changed this to 4 days.
Nevertheless, this does not provide additional waste. On the day of the switch, there was some additional food loss, but thanks to our efficient automatic stock management, it has been limited to this day only. Customers now have an extra day to use their products before the expiry date.
Few people know the difference between the two types of expiry dates:
• 'to be used until': it is no longer safe to use this product after this date. Especially fresh products (soft cheeses, salads, meat, yoghurt, etc.)
• 'best before': the quality of the product decays, but the product does not immediately pose a health threat. This concerns products, such as crisps, apples, frozen fish, tinned vegetables, hard cheeses, etc. The customer will have to inspect the product itself for signs of decay. If the product looks and smells normal, then it is still safe to use.
We will inform customers about this distinction by means of posters in the store. This way, they will throw out less products, that are still edible.
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