Use by Dates on Meat and Chicken for Home Delivery

We have been using Coles home delivery service since lockdown began. I was dismayed this afternoon 06/09 to discover they delivered our chicken orders with a Use By date of 08/09. When I queried this they responded

“Hello, unfortunately our minimum acceptance policy for meat is 2 days and since the items expire on 08/09 it comes under our minimum acceptance policy. However, please be assured I have passed on your feedback to our store team who prepared your order, to avoid this occurring again. Thank you for using our SMS services, have a good night”

As a customer I trust Coles to pick and deliver as if I was selecting it myself. 2 days for meat and chicken is not enough.

It may be acceptable to have meat on shelves with only 2 days left on the Use By date but it’s not ok to deliver it when ordered online. In the store the customer can see the Use By date and make a decision on whether to buy it or not. Online we trust Coles to make good decisions for us. This was a very bad decision and requires a change in policy for online orders. Online orders should always be the longest Use By dates for perishable merchandise.

Interested what other members of this group think


  • all meat in stores that have their butchers will usually have the same shelf life. They usually wont put new meat out until all the old has been sold. thats why they have the reduced to clear sometimes on the older meat to move the older stock before filling up the new.

  • I agree however I think it’s a little naive to expect the selection of produce to be up to your own benchmark. You want maximum shelf life, they want to move old product. Doesn’t surprise me at all. I don’t use the home delivery services for exactly this reason.

    • I find this the same with packaged items for fruit and veg. This is why i purchase mainly non-perishables online and fresh food in store once a week. Also minimises the time looking for those items as i only need to use two main aisles rather than whole store.

  • I never worry about the use by date, as soon as I get home all meat/chicken, except for what I will be cooking that day goes into my freezer.

    Freezing the meat/chicken will extend the usage date for several weeks.

    • Or more, depending on well sealed it is. We bought a cheap vaccuum sealer from Aldi. Works great!

    • Also takes a huge amount of nutrients out of the food and depending on how you defrost it, even more. Why buy stuff you're not going to use straight away. Fresh is significantly better even for the taste and texture which is compromised when it's frozen.

  • That's why I stopped doing delivery from Colesworth. Short dated meat (don't have a huge freezer) and suspect fruit/veg… prefer to just go in myself and select.

  • +11 votes

    You have effectively outsourced your decision-making to Coles; their own standards apply and you have to accept those.

  • They've been doing this for ages, they can clear out stock that isn't selling and shaft the customer because they in turn have to buy MORE product to replace it.

    Always best to go in yourself - don't get me started on milk expirations…

  • We had the same issue with Coles but our expiry was the next day. They wouldnt budge on anything.

    Went with Woolworths and had the same issue with mince. Expiry the next day. Took a photo and spoke to them via Live chat. Refund was processed immediately.

    Use Woolworths. A far better experience.

    • Coles take ages to respond, tried doing via sms and you dont even know if they've seen your message can wait hours in between replies.

    • All coles branded products have a return policy if you aren't' satisfied.

  • Online orders should always be the longest Use By dates for perishable merchandise.

    That's just like, your opinion, man…

  • I think Chicken has a 2 week life from when the chicken is slaughtered to when it goes off.
    I purchased some chicken recently from Aldi, that still had 3 days left, and when I opened it, it didn't smell right. fortunatly I had the receipt, and I took it back the following day, and they gave us a refund (I bought more anyway).

    I am fairly sensitive when it comes to chicken and pork.

  • If only you’ve seen how the staff carelessly gather and mix your groceries for click and collect 🤯
    I would expect the same thing or worse happening in their warehouse for home delivery where there are no customers watching them.
    I want them nowhere near stuff going into my body.
    Can’t cut them off completely but less involvement the better.

  • Also remember that most of the workers don't really pay a lot of attention to dates. Depending on the store they have too many things to pick and not enough time to get it done to try and look for the longest use by date or the best quality apples.

  • My understanding is that you can specify an earliest use-by date you'd accept. The trade off is that if they don't have anything with a late enough use-by date, you won't get that item delivered (and the price will be refunded as if it's out of stock).

  • check with consumer afairs if you can dispute this for a refund. ACL aust consumer law applies to coles and another others

    • +3 votes

      On what basis could you dispute that; the product was still within it's Use by Date when delivered.

  • Honestly I think the supermarket workers are putting in fair effort to make sure your groceries are fresh.

    I think the problem here comes down to the realities of a supermarket.

    Often when I visit, all the chicken breast might be short dated for example, or maybe all the avacados or other fruit/veg are over ripe or under ripe.

    The problem is the worker doesn't know you don't want this, many people still buy these products in those situations.

    Personally I just change what I was going to eat, but only I can know what else I want.