• The East of England Co-op, which is independent of the national Co-operative Group, will sell dried and tinned food past its "best before" date in 125 UK stores.
  • Rice, crisps, and pasta will be sold for as little as 10p following a successful trial.
  • The offer will not apply to perishable foods such as meat and fresh fruit and vegetables.

A supermarket chain will be the first major retailer to sell food beyond its "best before" dates.

The East of England Co-op, which has 125 stores in East Anglia, plans to sell dried and tinned food including rice, crisps, and pasta for just 10p in a bid to reduce food waste.

The East of England Co-op is independent of the national Co-operative Group. Its joint chief executive Roger Grosvenor said a three-month trial in 14 stores had been successful, with 10p items selling out within hours of being reduced.

"The vast majority of our customers understand they are fine to eat and appreciate the opportunity to make a significant saving on some of their favourite products," he told the East Anglian Daily Times.

"This is not a money-making exercise, but a sensible move to reduce food waste and keep edible food in the food chain."

The offer will not apply to perishable foods such as meat and fresh fruit and vegetables, which can be unsafe to eat when they surpass their "use by" date.

Best before dates, on the other hand, indicate the quality of a product, rather than safety, and food being sold past its best before date will not remain on display for longer than a month.

The Food Standards Agency says the UK manufacturing and retail sectors wastes 1.9 million tonnes of food and waste every year, 1.1 million tonnes of which is avoidable.