Approved Food review – is it any good?

The online retailer sells out-of-date stock at low prices.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As a country we chuck out an astonishing amount of food that has gone out of date.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Since most stuff is out of date there’s a decent discount on the retail price.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:

ProductPrice paidRRP
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

7 thoughts on “Approved Food review – is it any good?

  1. I tried Approved food once, not recently, but wouldn’t ever again! What I received was the worst kind of bad joke!

    I bought some wine which obviously wasn’t out of date, but which they had because some other retailer must have junked it because it was completely rancid and only good to go down the drain.

    I bought 3 Christmas puddings, which didn’t even match the photo of what I was supposed to be getting. They weren’t in boxes as illustrated, they were just in the plastic tubs, but the really appalling thing was that the packaging was badly damaged on all three. And when I say that, I don’t mean cosmetically that I wouldn’t have minded too much, I mean the actual tops were gone in one case, ripped in two, and the puddings were completely exposed and actually DIRTY! They looked for all the world as if they’d been taken out of a dustbin! Before throwing them away, out of curiosity, though, I cut one in half to have a look at it and it was the most awful looking Xmas pud I’d ever seen. It was just grey stodge with barely any fruit and was a million miles from the quality product it was sold as. I actually think they really had been thrown away because they were so awful, and that they were retrieved from a dustbin. And I’m not kidding!

    I bought some ginger cakes too, not minding that they were out of date, and as not then realising that I could have bought them for less at the time in my local pound shop. What I did mind, though, was that what arrived was squashed out of recognition. None were in any sort of salable condition. The best of them had an obvious heel mark, but at least there had been enough cake for that to show. Not so with the others, which looked as if they could have been run over with a car. They’d were just gooey smears! Biscuits bought were also crushed.

    I bought some tubes of anchovy paste, but the contents were so hard that nothing would squeeze out, even after being left in hot water. I cut one open and it was all dry and hard inside. Horrid and in unsalable condition. There was no visible date on them, and I just don’t believe they were only minimally out of date. Oily products don’t dry out like that, except over donkey’s years.

    I had to spend 50 pounds, and all I got for my money that wasn’t thrown were some out of date teabags!

  2. Used a number of times but items arrive poorly packaged and the last one damaged and made a mess of my property, they simply did not care despite sending them photos and proof of the poor packaging on arrival, awful customer service once they have taken your money! And agree with other comments that actually with added delivery and considering dates, not too cost effective.

    1. That’s good to know. It was a good number of years ago I wrote this article so it sounds like things may have gone downhill.

  3. Used Approved Food quite a lot in the past. Just gone back to it and must say I was disappointed. Prices risen quite a bit and no free delivery anymore. Found some prices cheaper in Supermarkets and considering most Approved Food is out of date, I don’t think I will be using it again!

  4. Another article from 2017 . Whats the point when the items named are not on sale 2 years later . Give your head a shake Andy

    1. Hi Kenny,

      Thanks for the feedback here. The point of the article is to show people how Approved Food works and whether I think it was any good. Stock actually changes daily so it would be impossible to update prices so the items in my review were available for readers to buy when they read it.

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