Times are tough, but there are some things we just can’t cut out of our budgets, like food…

Cheapskate, budget and shopping groups have erupted across just about every social media site, with users helping each other sniff out bargain buys and get the best value for money.

A popular suggestion for cheaper groceries and food are salvage stores that sell slightly, damages, soon to expire or ‘slightly expired’ groceries that regular supermarkets cannot by law sell.

While this is a great way to save money, there are certain things you need to look out for to make sure the food you buy for cheap won’t cost you and your family your health. 

How important are expiry dates? 

If you’re shopping in a salvage store, you are bound to come across some foods that are past their expiry dates. Buying this food is a gamble because you will not get your money back if the food is not fit for eating. 

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According to the Food Network, tinned or canned food is usually okay to eat up to four years past its best before date. What you should worry most about is the condition of the tin. Make sure it is not warped, dented or enlarged. This could mean that the food inside is no longer edible or that the tin was not kept in the proper conditions.

Make sure it is not warped, dented or enlarged.

If properly sealed, dry foods like cereal, pasta and other grains will also generally keep for longer than the best by date on the package. Give the food a smell test before eating or preparing it to be sure. 

Avoid buying meat, which is often repackaged and relabelled for safety and hygiene reasons.

Can you trust foreign brands?

Salvage stores often carry unfamiliar brands some brands may even come from other countries. The best thing to do if you are unsure of a brand is to do a quick Google search. 

Reputable brands will have a website and may even have nutritional information to compare to that of the product you see in the store. 

South Africa is plagued with counterfeit foods that could be harmful and unsanitary. It is important to only go to a reputable store where the food could easily be traced back.

Where does this food come from?

Small business Chron, describes salvage grocery stores as a booming business opportunity catering to the millions of South Africans looking for cheaper ways to put food on the table.

Salvage stores have relationships with Grocery stores and wholesalers who sell them damaged, expired and soon to expire stock at low prices. 

Some salvage stores repackage foods that come in damaged containers and will do this also to hide the expiry date. Avoid repackaged foods as there is no way of telling when it was originally packaged or what kind of damage the original packaging suffered (which might be telling of the condition of the food on sale). 

How to find a salvage store near you

You can simply do a Google search to find a salvage store near you.

However, it is better to do a Facebook search for the store, and to check the store’s ratings, to see what other shoppers thought of their experience and to see what kinds of products and prices you can expect from the store. 

Salvage grocery stores in Gauteng

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