19 Oct 2022

Reduced to Clear says customer numbers pick up as food prices rise

6:48 am on 19 October 2022
Woman shopping with trolley, holding receipt of grocery items, with food in handing, checking prices.

One shopper says they go to Reduced to Clear because they are feeling the sting of inflation. (file photo) Photo: 123RF

An independent shop hopes to ease the pressure on shoppers' wallets as inflation reaches a 32-year high and food prices rise.

Reduced to Clear sells everyday groceries, which are past or close to their best before date and products that could not be sold at markets, at discounts of up to 80 percent.

Manukau store manager Sunny said big manufacturers came knocking when they were having trouble moving stock.

"Our buyers have great ... relationships with a lot of companies and they get in touch with them."

Chief executive Sean Hills said the business took off after the last recession in 2008.

"We went really well during the recessionary times and the numbers in the last couple of months are showing that the customer numbers are starting to pick up again.

"One would think that if you need to save a bit of money then hopefully we can help."

Products that have gone past their best before dates are legally allowed to be sold as approved by the NZ Food Safety Authority.

While the major supermarkets would not usually sell them, Reduced to Clear said most products still tasted fine for several months afterwards.

Hill said they dealt with manufacturers and importers who either had short-dated or end of line stock, products that have had a change of packaging, and sometimes cancelled export orders.

"It's perfectly fine stock but most businesses in the food game have problems with stock every now and then.

"We help them remove the problem and we try and sell it to the public cheap, thus solving a problem and also helping the public out. "

One shopper said they went there because they were feeling the sting of inflation.

"[The cost of living] is very high, very high, and not affordable for people who are on a budget or on a minimum wage," she said.

Another was there to reduce her family's rising costs.

"I know that there's better deals here then the supermarkets. I spend personally $300 to $400 a week on my family of six ... it's insane."

Reduced to Clear store in Manukau, Auckland.

Reduced to Clear store in Manukau, Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Leonard Powell

While there was less selection at the store than at major New Zealand supermarkets, the majority of groceries were cheaper.

For example, an 800g tub of Kalo Greek yoghurt was selling on 18 October for $7.19 at Pak 'n' Save and just $3.50 at Reduced to Clear.

Mother Earth crunchy peanut butter was on sale for just $2 compared with $5 at Countdown.

One shopper came to find plant-based deals.

"[I'm saving] heaps of money. I think our normal like marinated tofu is $7 to $8 and I can get it sometimes for about $2 to $4," she said.

"I've never been a believer [of best before dates]."

A 125g tub of Meadowfresh sour cream was $2.29 at Pak'nSave, compared with $0.69 cents at Reduced to Clear.

The cut-price retailer was selling 200g of Galaxy Creamy Feta cheese for $2 compared with $4.50 at Countdown.

Another customer said shopping at Reduced to Clear was a no-brainer

"This offers good value. [I shop for] mostly day-to-day needs food products.

"Obviously everything has shot through the roof. With the prices of daily staples here, we save basically half price for the same stuff.

Sunny said the Manukau store had recently installed a small fruit and vege section to encourage shoppers to make it a one-stop shop

Kumara was $3.99/kg, bananas $2.99, carrots $2.79/kg and avocados 99 cents each.

"Fresh produce is an essential product, so we made it available for convenience of our customers so that they don't have to go to any other supermarket," he said.

"We took the decision to make fresh produce and vegetable available and also introduce lot of essentials as well at the same time."

Hills said as a possible recession bites, he was considering plans for more stores around the country.

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