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The online retailer sells out-of-date stock at low prices. I’ve taken a look to check the quality of products and whether they’re good value for money.

You might remember a few weeks ago I organised a trip to a warehouse in Sheffield for my UK Money Blogger community. We went to visit discount food supplier Approved Food and I was pleasantly surprised by the ethos and range of products available.

However, as you all know I don’t recommend any products or deals unless I think they are good value. Since the only way to test Approved Food was to give it a go, I made my first order.

As ever I’ve not been paid for this – unlike most other bloggers I refuse payment in exchange for advertorial type posts. However, I was given some free credit to use under the proviso that I’d be honest in my assessment of the process and goods I received. So here we go, my thoughts on Approved Food.

What is Approved Food?

As a country we chuck out an astonishing amount of food that has gone out of date. As I explained in my article Best before, Use By and Sell by – what’s the difference?, it’s actually ok to keep eating grub past the best before date.

Now, it might not be at the optimum quality, but it’s safe to eat, and Dan who set up Approved Food told me some stuff is fine for years.

What can you buy?

I went through every page of the website to look at every product. There are chocolates, cokes, cereals, spices, cakes, crisps… the list goes on.

Surprisingly there’s also a decent chunk of stuff that’s either doesn’t date, or is still in date. There’s a beauty and cosmetics section with items that don’t even have a best before date.

Depending on when you shop you might also find some “seasonal” items at a very low price. When I looked there were plenty of Christmas chocs, and I’m sure it won’t be long before there are Easter goodies available.

What you can’t really do is a regular shop, as the stock is based on what they get from retailers and manufacturers.

Is it good value?

Since most stuff is out of date there’s a decent discount on the retail price. Plus, there’s a lot of “5 for £1” going on, a call back to owner Dan’s market trading roots.

Most of the items I saw were far cheaper than the supermarket shelf price.

However, there were a few things where you could get the same price or similar at the likes of Tesco. It’s worth having MySupermarket open in another tab so you can quickly check if the price is comparable. But on the whole, you are spending less.

The main downside is that you do have to pay for delivery. The full price for a standard box is £5.99, and increases if you have large orders. You need to work out if your order compensates for the charge. There’s also a minimum order of £17.50.

To help, I’ve negotiated a half-price delivery code – more details at the bottom of the article.

What I bought

It seems any decent blogger records an “unboxing” when they get a delivery. It doesn’t happen very often for me, so I thought I’d give it a whirl in the video above.

The purpose of the order was to review the service so I made sure I got some out of date items. Now, I can’t vouch for the quality of all the products yet – I need to use them first – but I was pretty impressed.

Here’s what I ordered and the cost/saving:

Product Price paid RRP
Nouvelle Soft Toilet Roll 9 Pack £0.99 £4.70
Brooklyn Brine Co Hop Gherkins £0.59 £1.00
Chilli Plantain crisps £0.39 £0.90
Hovis Granary Bread mix £0.89 £1.00
Thai Taste Massaman Red Curry Paste £0.89 £1.89
Nouvelle Soft Toilet Roll 9 Pack £0.99 £4.70
Wilkin and Sons Hot Gooseberry chutney £0.39 £0.59
Oral B 3D White toothbrush heads £6.99 £12.80
Crystal Head Vodka £24.99 £48.50

Is it worth it?

I’m really happy with my order. The bulk of the items are all things I’d have bought anyway. I’m also dead chuffed with my vodka skull. I’ve always coveted these in duty-free, so to get one half-price was a great bonus.

Plus, I like the ethical aspect that by ordering you’re cutting out the amount of food going to landfill. So, yes Approved Foods does meet with my approval. But a few caveats.

First, don’t get carried away by the bargain basement pricing and bulk orders. You should still only buy items you want and need.

When I looked I could have picked up 24 of my childhood favourite Pepperami for just a few quid. Great value, but I’m not going to eat that many salami snacks (I mean, I could… No! Bad idea).

Also, you need to factor in that though some items have a decent discount on recommended retail price, offers in supermarkets can sometimes beat them.

But on the whole, as long as you order enough to justify the delivery charge, you can make some really good savings.

>> Shop at Approved Food

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