Should You Be Leery of Deals on “Old” Food? — Supermarket Savvy
Last weekend, I stopped by an upscale grocery store. Except for the few times I’ve succumbed to the spell of Dean & Deluca, I never go into this type of pricey store, but a kitchen accident and an impending brunch had necessitated the stop.
While there, a “day-old” shelf caught my eye, and I decided to buy myself a day-old cake, for 1/3 of the price paid for my brunch offering. And guess what — it was fantastic! So I started wondering about the discounted old-food shelves in my grocery store. Should I be checking them out?
The blog Delish notes that much of the food we purchase is already old, except for baked goods prepared in-store, so many of us regularly eat old food without realizing it. Reader’s Digest points out that there is higher turnover of common produce than there is of exotic items, so a starfruit might be months older than the bananas it’s sitting next to.
I think shoppers eying shelves of old food would be smart to look at commonplace produce only, since it probably has more life left. As far as baked goods go, most desserts are fine a few days out (like my cake), but check carefully for any signs of spoiling. Old breads, even if stale, can be used for croutons, bread puddings, or French toast. For any packaged goods, the same advice I gave about salvage stores applies. Items past their “best by” dates may have lost their flavors. Be careful with baby formula and pet foods. Don’t use formula past its expiration date, and check here to see if any pet food was included in any recalls.
Shop smart and save! Check out more tips on couponing and savvy shopping!