Grocery Auctions: Going Once, Going Twice, Going Off!

Grocery auctions are sweeping the nation! The concept is simple: you bid on super-low-priced food items and paper goods, and walk away with a cart full of groceries for $100s less than you’d spend at your local supermarket. But the reality is that most of the food is expired, damaged, or past its promotion deadline. So are you really getting a good deal? And what do those “best before” dates really signify?

Freegans have been safely enjoying expired Edam and dumpster-dwelling doughnuts for decades. Hell, even the FDA concedes that “When storage conditions have been optimal, many foods are acceptable…for periods of time beyond the expiration date printed on the label, and also are safe to eat.”

So, I’m assuming it’s always going to be good for me to eat Breast Cancer Awareness M&Ms, and as for Christmas in April — I’m fine with Santa cookies any (or every) day of the week. Close-to-expiration meat can go straight in the freezer, and most fresh produce can be cooked right up into a stew, or canned/preserved — if you know how.

But it’s surely a sign of the times when 400 people show up (with kids and coolers in tow) to bid on a ten-pack of stale Doritos or supersized week-old yogurts. Not to mention that many of these people are paying for their purchases with credit cards or food stamps.

Thrifty Shoppers ‘Sold!” On Grocery Auctions [MSNBC] (Photo: ninjapoodles)