On Friday I was shopping in my local supermarket and came across one of the things that annoys me most about it: sell-by dates.
Does the supermarket consider it might be appropriate to reduce the price of an item that’s about to expire?
It just shoves it to the front of the shelf and hides the food with a greater life-span to the back.
This would be annoying at the best of times, but when gluten-free food’s so much more expensive than its ‘normal’ alternative, it’s enough to bring out the worst in the most saintly of citizens.
I’ve had to point the use-by-date problem out several times to members of staff, who have always been duly apologetic, but nothing ever changes.
On one occasion, gluten-free bread was being sold that was 3 days out of date.
“THREE DAYS?!” Yep. The response from the staff? “Someone’s going to get in trouble for this.”
Well, clearly they didn’t get in enough trouble, because the supermarket’s still doing it. Ironically, its tagline is, “Live well for less.” Hmm, less time to eat your food, it would seem.
I’ll give you an example.Freefrom bread dates 4
Here’s some gluten-free bread on sale. You may have to squint a little, but if you look closely you’ll see the first two loaves of bread have a date of 2 April. That gives the buyer one day to eat it all. Look at the back loaf and you’ll see you get until 4 April. Admittedly, it’s only an extra 2 days, but at least you stand half a chance of getting through it.
Let’s move on to their naan bread: an expensive treat most of us wouldn’t often buy.
Freefrom bread date 3
Imagine how annoyed you’d be if you got the loaf on the left – i.e. the one that’s TEN days older than the other.
Seriously. I mean, come on!
But all’s not lost.
Freefrom bread date 2
Finally, some respite: bread rolls that last for another 3 weeks.
Hallelujah! (Although it does make the cynic in me wonder what on earth goes into it that keeps it for so long. Do I really want to eat all those preservatives?)
So please, supermarkets, listen up (especially the Sainsbury’s Brislington branch): spare a thought for your customers. If something’s about to go out of date, reduce its price. It may not be much to you but to the coeliacs who have to fork out for a whacking great food bill each week, it’s a small mercy.
Is this the worst thing about gluten-free food? What are your bug-bears? Do tell below!