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Four facts about 'best before' dates that can save you money

Best before dates are a suggestion--many products are perfectly fine to eat after the date on the package.
There are ways to save money at the grocery, including shopping the nearly-expired products. Photo supplied.

We’re all feeling the pinch of inflation, with rising prices and interest rates. Here are four simple ways you can use best before dates to save money.

  1. Know the difference between a best before date and an expiry date
    Did you know that expiration dates and best before dates are not the same thing? An expiration date is the last day a food is safe to eat.
    Expiry dates are required on only a small number of foods, such as infant formula and meal replacements.
    Best before dates are about food freshness, quality and how long they should last unopened, not about food safety.
  2. Taste before you waste
    There’s a common misperception that after a package of food has passed its best before date, it’s no longer safe to eat. Best before dates indicate when a packaged food will be at its peak in terms of flavour and nutrition. If stored properly, most food is perfectly edible beyond the best before date on the label. Open the package and give it the “sniff test” or look for mould or other signs of spoilage. Otherwise, using something beyond its best before date is perfectly fine and can help reduce your food waste.
  3. Keep an eye out for “Enjoy Tonight” sales
    Studies show that Canadians love best before dates, and for good reason. Buying food that is close to or past its best before date can result in significant savings. For example, if you buy a tub of yogurt the day before the best-before date, your local grocery store may offer you up to 50 per cent off.
  4. More foods include best before dates than required by Canadian law
    Canada exempts fresh produce and requires best before dates on fewer foods than some other countries. The food industry can still choose to put a best before date, many do, which often results in sales when the date approaches. So, keep an eye out for savings.