Food safety concerns? Appetite grows for older groceries

Tammy and Troy Eversole paid 33 cents apiece for Jack Link beef jerky at the B&E Salvage grocery last Wednesday morning — a bargain compared to the 83-cent price tag for the same product at Wal-Mart.

jack.links.beef.jerkyThe Eversoles’ cheaper jerky was slightly out of date, stamped with “Best Before March 19,” but the couple said they don’t mind a snack that is slightly tougher on the tooth.

Like the Eversoles, a growing number of consumers are seeking out packaged food that is close to or just past expiration, or discarded by major retailers due to slightly damaged packaging. While many who buy such food are pressed for cash and looking for a deal, others are concerned that good food is being wasted.

As a result, more dated or dented stock is entering the mainstream, increasingly sold by secondhand retailers like B&E Salvage, or distributed by food banks.

“When I was in the service we would eat MREs that sat on the shelf for five, six or seven years,” Troy Eversole, an Army veteran, said as he bent each beef stick at B&E to make sure it was pliable enough for chewing. “This is good for anybody.”