ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — It doesn’t take long to rack up a hefty grocery bill, especially if you have a family to feed. That is why Angie Seto decided to open up what she believes is the Austin area’s first salvage grocery store.
“I stayed at home with our kids when they were little and there were times that we really had to piece together money,” explains Seto. “I think regardless of where the economy is at, there’s always people that need to save money, groceries have gotten expensive.”
Angie’s Discount Grocery in Round Rock opened in September and sells food at least 30 percent off, but the products may be dented or are past their “Sell By” dates.
“It can (also) be items that were overstock, branding changes, items that didn’t sell that well,” explains Seto.
Besides infant formula, federal regulations do not require dates on products. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends the phrase “Best if Used By” so shoppers understand that date represents a quality of the food, not whether it’s safe.
“It doesn’t mean that item inside is spoiled, it’s just that the product is at its best at that date,” said Seto. Seto shops for her own family at her store and says she would never sell anything she wouldn’t eat.
“There was one day I had about four different people buy for homeless people and they were gifting it forward,” says Seto with tears in her eyes, “And she looked at me and she said ‘Angie, people that are hungry, don’t care about a “Best By.'”
Seto says about 70 to 80 percent of the products she sells are still within their “Best if Used By” dates. She also says county and state inspectors are able to check in on her store at least once a year, if not more often.
Researchers say expiration date confusion is one of the biggest reasons about 40 percent of the food produced in our country ends up in the trash. That is about $165 billion worth of edible food that is tossed out every year.