Expired Canned Food – Are you sure you aren’t selling any?

Shelf life management is certainly no easy task. There are only so many labor hours available and there are A LOT of expiration dates to be checked. As such, decisions need to be made based on where the most “bang for your buck” occurs. It would make sense that the majority of expired product issues arise in the perishables with the shortest shelf life such as fresh meat, dairy, and produce. On top of the fact that these items have short shelf lives, they also bear the biggest risk for getting a customer sick if they are sold past the best by date. Even if all expired item shrink of these products were eliminated, you would still need to account for the loss on center store goods.

Expired canned food and other center store items account for roughly 1/3 of expired item shrink. This may be hard to believe since a simple glance at any of these items would tell you that most items in a grocery department won’t expire for at least a year. However, due to their longer shelf lives, center store items are largely neglected in a shelf life management plan. That is because far greater quantities of these items are carried, which makes checking their expiration dates quite difficult.

So the question is how to even begin to reduce shrink on these items? The most common method is product rotation which is done every time a product is stocked or in a cycle. This method eliminates a majority of expired product issues on center store items, but requires three touch points:

  1. Pull off old stock
  2. Place new stock in back
  3. Put the old stock in front

As you can see, this method requires a large amount of labor hours.

Another common method is spot checking. Using this method, items are checked by section according to a schedule. This method requires less labor hours than product rotation, but is less effective at eliminating the sale of expired canned food because items will expire in between the scheduled spot checks.

The latest method of managing expired products is Date Check Pro. This software combines the effectiveness of product rotation with the time efficiency of spot checks. By tracking inventory expiration dates, Date Check Pro targets spot checks by item. Items are then rotated when checked so that any items nearing expiration can be sold before an issue arises.

Further efficiencies exist within Date Check Pro including location filters which allow for more efficient work flow, department settings, and labor hour requirement predictions.