A store in Dover that sells goods that are damaged, past consume before dates or rejected by major supermarkets is showing so strong that the owner is bringing the idea to London.
Nifties was made up last year by 26-year-old Nathaniel Richards, and it has been growing ever since because of its super-low prices, with items typically costing an average of 60p.
The business-minded dad of three set up the ‘social supermarket’ as a way of lowering down on the enormous amount of waste produced by major supermarkets and using it to help stop poverty in his local community. A Wrap report announced in January showed that the estimated amount of household food waste in 2015 was 7.3 million tonnes, up by 0.3 million tonnes from 7 million tonnes in 2012.
The store has been so successful that it is predicted to turn over about £90,000-125,000 this financial year, up from £32,000 the year before. All profits, Richards says, are reinvested back into the firm.
Richards purchases around 80pc of his stock, getting it from retailers who want to lash their excess goods or rejected items that are not fit for selling, including products that are damaged or have reached their best before date. 20pc of his stocks come from donations by manufacturers and other firms
He also purchases from local suppliers and farmers who give him wonky veg that would otherwise be rejected by the supermarkets.
While some people would be suspicious of purchasing items that had passed their ‘best before’ date, this food labelling is only about quality, rather than safety, so when the date has elapsed it does not mean that the food is dangerous – it’s just that it might have started to lose its flavour or texture, but sometimes it actually does not.
Take note that selling food items beyond its best before date is not an offence. But selling items that have passed its ‘use by’ date is an offence, this is according to James Leighton, a trainee solicitor of Howlett Clarke
The supermarket has been so popular since opening in Dover in 2016 that Nathaniel is preparing to open two more stores, one in Lewisham, London, and the other in Thanet, Kent, and is expecting the paperwork from the site landlords to finalise the arrangements.
If you do not like to get out of your comfy home, you can still buy items from its Nifties’ website. It offers a broad range of selections – from canned goods, cleaning products, and to fruits – for just a small amount, delivered within the next day, the nationwide delivery cost of just £7.
Richards said: “Our store is doing fantastically well, and people come from all over to shop here. I believe Londoners will be receptive to a Nifties store in the city because they, more than anyone else, are getting ripped off with the high cost of living and ridiculously high house prices.”