Cheap, delicious - and only three years out of date: my week of eating food...

My lunch is some one-year-out-of-date Marmite peanut butter spread over cracked black pepper Nairn’s oatcakes (best before December 2021). It follows a breakfast of old pink Coco Pops and a mid-morning snack of crisps that the manufacturer suggests I should have eaten when Theresa May was still in Downing Street.

Many people are quite relaxed about food dates, sniffing their milk or inspecting their salad bag rather than relying on what the manufacturer has printed on the packaging. But there is a new breed of bargain hunter: one who actively seeks out food that is not just two days or two weeks out of date, but sometimes two prime ministers beyond its best before. Many do it purely to save money, others to help the planet, quite a few for the strange thrill of hunting down obscure jars of fish paste that would otherwise end up being thrown away. I have decided to join them, if only for a week, to discover why so much food destined for our supermarket shelves never makes it that far – and how retailers specialising in selling “recovered” or “rescued” food are booming. Crucially, I want to find out if any of it tastes OK.


I sometimes watch this guy on YouTube. He taste tests MREs dating back to the Civil War.
I was surprised at how well the WWII era ones held up, right down to the cigarettes :slight_smile:


There was a show that ran for one season, just before the pandemic, on the History Channel called “Eating History”. These two guys found things that were decades old, from Vietnam-era MREs to Billy Beer, and would eat or drink them if they weren’t in a condition to give the guys food poisoning. Some were as awful as you would expect, some were OK but stale, and some were actually as good as the day they were packaged.

My wife and I used to joke that the show should be called “Idiots Eating Bad Food”.

Watch Eating History Full Episodes, Video & More | HISTORY Channel

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