This Grocery Store's New App Offers Almost-Expired Groceries for 50% Off

Expiration dates exist for a reason. But eggs, milk, that pint of Ben & Jerry's at the back of your freezer "for emergencies?" They're safe for consumption until that "use by" has passed or they start omitting... a funk. Whichever comes first. 

But because everyone naturally prefers fresh food to the expired kind, the grocery industry is facing a major food waste problem -- to the tune of $18 billion. And one that Meijer is trying to tackle. In partnership with Canadian app startup Flashfood, the midwestern supermarket chain is offering 50% off on produce, meat, seafood, deli, and bakery products nearing their "best by" dates. 

"Food is at the core of what we do, and we are constantly looking at ways to minimize in-store waste because it’s the right thing to do for our communities and our customers," Group Vice President of Fresh at Meijer Don Sanderson said in a statement. "We are excited to work with Flashfood and learn how much food can be spared from landfills." 

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Flashfood actually works with a number of retailers to offer discounted prices on soon-to-be expired food. It's still entirely safe to eat, but just won't keep as long as, say, the bananas you bought an hour ago. Customers can order their food and pay directly through the app. Then you just head to the store and pick up your haul directly from customer service.

Because Meijer is currently testing the program, it's limited to Detroit area locations, but will hit 245 of its supercenters across the Midwest pending its success. 

"Reducing food waste is an important goal at Meijer," Director of Environmental Compliance and Sustainability Erik Petrovoskis said. "There are creative solutions throughout a food’s life cycle that can reduce landfill use and production of greenhouse gases, and I’m pleased we’re looking at another in-store option that benefits our customers." 

h/t The Takeout

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 Megan Schaltegger is a staff writer at Thrillist. Follow her @MegSchaltegger