Think ‘outlet store’ and things like outdated fashion, suburban shopping malls and crowded Sunday afternoons pop up in your mind. However, a new outlet supermarket in the Netherlands has become very fashionable by selling food that’s not fashionable any more for half the price.
Earlier this year in the Dutch town of Schagen a local Outlet Supermarket opened doors. For very low prices it sells all kinds of alimentary products that other supermarkts don’t want to offer any more. These products are often approaching the expiration date, but are still good to consume. In the Netherlands each year almost 100,000 kilos of good food is thrown away, often because it has reached the expiration date, but also because products get a new barcode or will be removed from the shelving. This incredible waste of food has to stop, according to Jan-Willem Stam, the man behind the Outlet Supermarket.
What most people don’t know is that that the expiration date on most non-fresh products is only an indication by the producer. Expiration of the date says nothing about the freshness of the product. Most consumers though are afraid of getting food-poisoning after eating ‘expired’ food, which is only true for fresh products such as milk and meat, but definitely not for most pre-packed products.
The Outlet Supermarket has already turned into a huge success — it shows to fill a gap in the market. Whereas other supermarket chains focus on a shift to more luxury products and pre-fabricated products for people without time to cook, this is another approach that combines successful entrepreneurship with sustainable thinking. And, needless to say, it offers cheap groceries to the local people.