A community project aiming to reduce food waste and save families money, hopes to expand in the New Year, with the backing of its local councillor.
The Best Before Project Shop in Bury St Edmunds educates people about the difference in meaning between ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ labels on food and drink and sells the latter.
Hilary Whitwell, a key member of the Best Before Project, said: “The average family throws away around £700 of food each year. It is just mad, and a lot of it is simply down to people not understanding food labels.
“Food items that are past their ‘best before’ dates are perfectly fine to eat and drink. It is only when something is past its ‘use by’ date, that people should avoid consuming it.
“Our Best Before Shop opened in Elsey’s Yard off Risbygate Street in August. We receive food donations from Tesco via our partnership with Fareshare, as well as Far Away Foods in St Johns Street and The Bodhi Tree in The Traverse. That food is then available in the shop for free or a small donation.”
In 2018 they want to expand by having more businesses donate so they can stay open for more than just Tuesday 10am to 2pm and educate more people about ‘best before’.
The non-profit organisation received locality grant funds from Suffolk County Cllr David Nettleton towards the initial set up costs and now St Edmundsbury Cllr Julia Wakelam has given £300 from her locality budget to help the shop grow.
Cllr Wakelam said: “For businesses this is about doing what is ethically right. This offers the business a way to ensure that there is a local outlet for these food items, rather than simply throwing them in the bin. I hope many more businesses will follow the example set by Tesco, Far Away Food and The Bodhi Tree, and will start donating to the Best Before Shop in 2018.”
The Best Before Project Shop is also looking for volunteers to help in the shop or with the food pick-ups. You can find out more about the project via its Facebook page at |https://www.facebook.com/BestBeforeProjectBSE|www.facebook.com/BestBeforeProjectBSE|Click for Facebook page}, Twitter @BestBeforeBSE, email@example.com or by phoning Hilary Whitwell on 07528 205084.
Tesco has given the group a voucher to spend on Christmas goods so that the group can hold a Christmas celebration for customers and supporters, so the shop also plans to be open for a while on Christmas Eve.