The holiday season is coming to a close. I hope you all had a blessed Christmas season with your family and friends. I know that I have (probably why it's been almost 2 weeks since my last post!). In retail, Christmas comes early and it feels like it will never get here - then - WHAM! It's Christmas in a frenzy, then it's over. Then it's packing everything away and changing the entire layout of the store for... what?
Our answer this time is ... food.
Who doesn't need food, right? You would think that after the holiday season, food wouldn't be the first thing that we think of but we have been able to find a few pretty good deals. Snacks for game days, lunch bags, Super Bowl parties, snowmobile parties, anything.
Now you guys know Merchandise Outlet. Things don't last too long... especially good deals. We've gotten a couple of trailers of food in already, but going to 9 stores, it doesn't take long to get out and get gone.
While we are talking about food, I would like to go over a few things about Merchandise Outlet and food. You all know that Merchandise Outlet is a closeout or liquidation based store (not all of our merchandise, but a lot). What this means is that we are one of the last links in the supply chain of retail. It still remains the same when it comes to food. When we get our deals on food, a lot of times it can be from a fulfillment center or reclamation center who has food that has been pulled because it is getting too close to a "best by" date.
Some of our sources deal with selling items on-line and just won't list them anymore if they run too close. Or some of our sources are brick and mortar buildings where the manufacturer or rep will pull their product from shelves if the dates get too close. Where do you think those items go? Our suppliers have those contacts - then they have us.
We have spent a lot of time studying food items and these "best by" dates and what they mean to us as far as value of product that we can get for you. Of course everyone has an opinion, but we have relied on the US Department of Food and Agriculture for unbiased information.
The calendar date provides consumers with information on the estimated period of time for which the product will be of best quality and to help the store determine how long to display the product for sale. USDA estimates food loss and waste at 30 percent of the food supply lost or wasted at the retail and consumer levels. One source of food waste arises from consumers or retailers throwing away wholesome food because of confusion about the meaning of dates displayed on the label. To reduce consumer confusion and wasted food, FSIS recommends that food manufacturers and retailers that apply product dating use a "Best if Used By" date. Research shows that this phrase conveys to consumers that the product will be of best quality if used by the calendar date shown. Foods not exhibiting signs of spoilage should be wholesome and may be sold, purchased, donated and consumed beyond the labeled "Best if Used By" date.
In a nutshell, what we have learned about food and it's dates; The best-by date on a food product is the manufacturer GUARANTEEING freshness and precise nutritional value of it's product by this date. By no means does it mean that it is unsafe or won't be any good after this date. The guarantee of nutritional value on a bag of potato chips seems a little hypocritical, whereas we do not sell close dated infant food, since there is a reliance on nutritional value. Organic foods don't have the shelf life that preservative-laden food has so those are more closely monitored.
Our goal at Merchandise Outlet is to get you a great deal. We want to add value to your life by getting quality items to you at at the lowest cost possible.