I’m sure we’ve all seen these grocery items at Checkers: reduced-to-clear. I first came across these items probably about a year and a half ago and it certainly seems like they are becoming more and more popular. I see them more often on the shelves, I see more of a variety of reduced to clear items and I also see more and more people packing them away in their trolleys and baskets!

These reduced-to-clear items are usually 1 day, but sometimes a few days, away from their sell-by-date. The items tend to be fruits and vegetables but also very often ready-made meals, platters, cheeses, breads, cakes and desserts. The best thing about these items is that they are selling for 50% off, and sometimes for as low as 60% off.

While the reduced-to-clear items shelves seem to be the most packed around month end, you can find a few reduced to clear items pretty much on any day. I’ve also seen these items in quite a few Checkers stores in Johannesburg and Alberton so I have always kind of assumed that this must be a common trend in all Checkers stores nationwide. There are days, of course, when there is nothing available. I’ve also heard, although I haven’t seen this for myself, that a lot of deli items nearing their sell-by-date go on reduced close to the end of business day.

So, are these reduced-to-clear grocery items worth buying? My answer would be – yes! I try my best to incorporate them into my monthly meal plan, but only if I end up finding some bargains close to month-end which gives me time to plan. I have, over the past year, quite often bought a variety of salads and vegetables (brinjals, leeks, mushrooms), fruits (grapes, strawberries), cheeses, pizzas, garlic bread loaves, rye breads and desserts, all pretty much for half the price!

I also think the reduced-to-clear items are particularly welcome if money is a bit tight at a particular time of the month for you, or if you’re trying to keep your grocery costs as low as possible in general. I love a good bargain on any day of the month, to be honest, and whenever I go grocery shopping at Checkers, I always make sure I have a look at what’s available on the reduced-to-clear shelves.

Plus, I like the thought that the reduced-to-clear items are a final attempt at selling and consuming food that was manufactured instead of simply allowing it to go to waste. If you’re read my post How We Avoid Food Waste in the Kitchen you might remember that I mentioned an article by Farmer’s Weekly Food wastage in SA: shameful facts which reveals that 31,4% of all food produced in South Africa goes to waste, and food wasted during consumption accounts for 5% of this waste which occurs mainly in urban areas by those who can afford to feed themselves. I’m happy knowing that I’m doing my part in reducing the amount, no matter how small, of the food that would otherwise end up going to waste.

I’ve been asked if it’s safe to buy the reduced-to-clear grocery items. I’ve always thought so. Bear in mind that these items have not yet expired so they should be alright for adult consumption otherwise they wouldn’t be on the shelves. We’ve certainly never experienced any problems but it pays to be very careful when selecting the items you buy, especially fruits and vegetables, which may have one or two spoilt bits in the packet somewhere in which case, you would want to nicely put that packet back on the shelf and look for a better one.

Have you ever bought any reduced-to-clear grocery items at Checkers? What are your thoughts on buying these items? Please let me know in the comments below.

If you’ve enjoyed this blog post, please share it with others!

You can also find Frugal in SA

on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or subscribe to my Weekly Newsletter.