Posted: Feb 7, 2013
As you know, food isn't getting any cheaper, in fact prices are rising. So finding ways to save money is essential.
My first suggestion: purchase discounted meat! When we buy meat, it's almost always at a reduced price. You may be thinking "eww" but let me assure you there is nothing wrong with it. Stores know that they cannot sell meat that is past its best before date, so they reduce the price hoping people will purchase it.
A best before date is not the same as an expiry date and can be defined as how long a food will retain its normal wholesomeness, flavour, and nutritional value when stored under normal conditions (Health Canada, 2012). In other words, if you eat it after the date it may not be at it's peak freshness and/or certain nutrients may have degraded. To help retain a products optimal profile you can simply freeze it (at which point the best before date is no longer valid). Most meats can be stored frozen for up to one year. You can do the same with bread products, as well. At our grocer, the savings are usually 30% (same for bread) - an amount we definitely notice at the register.
A quick note about freezer-burn: While the quality of the product may be compromised (tough, dry, less flavour), the food is still perfectly safe to consume.
Mark McGill, RD