There is a new way to reduce food waste in Saskatchewan called Flash Food. It is an app for mobile devices where grocery stores can post items that are about to expire and consumers can purchase them for 50% off. I’m always up for saving money while saving food, so I thought I would try it out and share my experience.
Any store can sign up to participate through the Flash Food program, but so far only Super Stores are on board in Saskatchewan (but not Loblaw’s other stores like No Frills or Extra Foods). They have eight locations in Saskatoon, Regina, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Yorkton and Lloydminster.
Once you choose the location you are interested in the app clearly tells you about the products available that day, the discounted price of 50% and when it is dated for.
As for product variety? Expect to find lots of bakery, fresh meat cuts and deli foods. Variety differs by store, so if there’s multiple stores in your area, be sure to check them all.
Payment for the items is done through the app via credit card, then you pick them up in store. There is a separate area for the Flash Food items near the customer service desk. If you wanted to shop for other items while you are in the store, you would do that first, then pick up your Flash Food items afterwards.
Unlike Superstore’s online shopping platform "Click and Collect" there are no personal shoppers who combine your items into a bagged or boxed order. You have to pick out the items from the cooler or shelf that you purchased yourself, then the customer service cashier will confirm the order and away you go.
I checked the Superstore most convenient to me, found an item we would all likely eat (in this case breakfast sausages), and purchased two packages. Because you don’t have to wait for someone to have time to pick the order, you can go pick it up whenever you like (the app will, however, suggest a pickup deadline based on the expiry date of the items you purchased). I was able to stop by a couple of hours after I ordered, picked my items out of the clearly labeled cooler, and had the customer service staff check off my order.
I cooked up the sausages for the kids on the weekend along with pancakes, and they were yummed right up.
All in all, if you are used to any online or app-based shopping, the process works pretty seamlessly. It is not the cure-all to food waste — but it is definitely a method that works in today’s app-based society. What do you think? Now that you know how it works, would you try it out?