Do You Buy Clearance Food Items at Discount Price?

From time to time, supermarkets, butcher shops, vege / fruit shops mark down the price on the goods close to expiry date, sometimes even a fraction of the original price.
I am a fan of those clearance items so usually take a stroll to the supermarket nearby before close time.

Poll Options

  • 13
    I never buy clearance food items
  • 21
    I buy clearance food items only when I actually need them
  • 145
    Depends on category / price / time / quality, etc.
  • 445
    Food on clearance is what I am looking for


  • +11


    No kids left at home so we only shop small groceries for the week which is usually what's on special mostly.

    For dinners if cooking, will just buy whatever is marked down. Takes the guess work out of it.

    I troll the bakery section in woolies/coles every time for a cheescake or something marked down. Sometimes I'll go back the next day to get it cheaper than the day before.

    I look for fresh ready made meals (coles kitchen are good) reduced to freeze.

    Discount outlets are great. The only thing that's really going to be questionable is fruit/veges or meat which you can freeze. Soft drinks, biscuits, etc., all good past BB date.

    • +1

      I am religious about this but, Soft drinks are something that goes pretty bad. I think it gets too flat and stale with time.

      • +2

        Not if you don't open it?

        • Nah, it degrades in the can.

          • @Htu08: I was thinking bottled.

            • @Quantumcat: Same for bottled…

            • +1

              @Quantumcat: Yeah, definitely bottled degrades, but bottle softdrink is kinda meh already

          • @Htu08: Please tell me how it degrades in the car?

            These are the same Cans/Tins that last for 5+ years with their contents still in good condition.
            They're literally sealed better than any glass/plastic bottle.
            Plus soft drinks are pretty much a preservative in itself.

            • @Drakesy: Hey mate, I think you can kinda just refer to the below comments.

              Sorry for not clarifying, I was mainly talking about the fake sugar drinks!

              I am also pretty crazy about soda drinks, I will be able to tell you the difference between sugar, diet/non-sugar and non-Australian batched drinks. (Obvs they will use different water in different bottling/canning facilities).

              Also, just a side note, but in the situation you're describing, you are talking about vacumn sealed and pasturized canned goods, that will eliminate and kill all the bacteria in the can, softdrinks I believe do not undergo this process. This is offset by the large amounts of chemicals and the low PH that basically kills off all bacteria anyways though. (attempt at a fun fact)

      • +3

        Cans last for ages. Bottles lose a bit of fizz after 2-3 months. more than enough time to drink.

        • Interesting, I find that they get pretty flat (especially in the bottle), but the cans do get a little bit weird after a long time.

          • +2

            @Htu08: You might be talking about the no sugar / zero sugar soft drinks. There are some major issues / flaws especially with the new Coke No sugar where the no sugar / flavouring part does not last long at all, (sometimes degrades before the best before). Its known by coke and i am not sure if they are working on it to fix it or if they like it the way it is because it means people have to buy more often. I have been caught out many times by buying a box of cans and only using a few before the flavouring went. Initially i thought i had some bad luck but it happened multiple times. A friend of mine works for Coke and told me that it is actually a known issue. So the older no sugar / zero flavouring lasted longer than the new one (when they changed from coke zero to coke no sugar)

            But if you have full sugar drinks in a can, they should last for ages without the fizz or flavouring going off.

            • @lonewolf: Wow, spot on!

              Yes, I thought maybe I was going crazy after seeing all these comments.

      • +1

        I bought 2 slabs of 30 Coke Zero cans from NQR, opened one and it tasted like crap / Flat, my kids had a sip and refused to drink it, so i took them all back. It was out of date by 3 months. I'll never buy out of date cans again.

  • +77

    It's like asking do you like cars in car forum.

    • Do you like pigs?

      • +1

        I love pigs. Dead ones.

        • preferably ones that have been eating acorns.

  • +2

    It's the first thing I check for usually as I'm sure many would do here

  • +19

    Used to remember when Woolworths had $2.50 roast chicken at the end of each night. Often had more chicken than I knew what to do with but for $2.50 I'm more then happy to gorge. I had a South Korean room mate who would marvel at the idea that you can get an entire cooked chicken for less then a loaf of bread.

    • When I was a teenager working at a supermarket, a guy would buy the remainder roast chickens on the Saturday, just before close, for his dogs! It was great for everyone involved! (mostly the dogs) ;)

      • +5

        You'd think that would be dangerous unless he can guarantee he gets all the bones out

        • +3

          Chicken's pretty easy to debone, and at that price, just the chicken breast will be fine! ;) I didn't ask what he did with the carcasses.

        • Your right cooked bones are a huge no no

        • +1

          I'd be more concerned about all the additives in roast chicken. If you look at the ingredients there's everything from onion and spice extracts to sugar, pepper, tumeric, raising agents, flavourings, you name it… Definitely not something I'd want to feed my pets very often (or at all!)

          • @diamond: Aren't those ingredients for the stuffing?

            • @Guybrush57: Mainly, but they'd marinate and coat it too and it'd be easy for the stuffing to get mixed in. Might not make them sick right away but I'd rather eliminate all risk of sickness/vet bills in the long term…
              Also heated plastic leaches chemicals into food especially if it's been in the hot display all day so I wouldn't eat it myself either ;)

        • Meat means bones, that's how it was for me(and my dogs), till I came to Australia.

          • +2

            @Marko6164: Cooked bones can splinter in the throat or gut killing your dog or leading to expensive vet bills

    • +1

      Picked up 5 BBQ roast chickens for $5 the other night. Absolute bargain.

    • +1

      Those were the days……I remembered I bought 8 roast chicken for $15 (bargained) at coles closing during my uni days, gave two whole chicken to my cousin, the rest I took the bone out, frozen them and ate chicken dishes for weeks.

      …lol I am glad I dont have to go through that again.

  • +7

    Do You Buy Clearance Food Items at Discount Price?

    That’s why we are OzBargainers!

  • +9

    Better eaten than ending up in landfill AND you get fed for half price? Win win win.

  • +6

    Do u buy stuff at a bargain price?
    Press 1: Yes
    Press 2: Yes
    Press 3: All the above

  • +3

    If it's there and something I'll use in that time, sure

    Will I buy something random that I'd never touch if I hadn't seen it at a discount, nope!

  • +5

    Only thing you should avoid is chicken that has been cut down further than a whole part (e.g. breast) to something like strips.

    That stuff goes bad quicker and I don't know if the people marking expiry dates get it right.

    Have had good experiences with other stuff though.

    • Just make sure it passes the smell test.

  • +1

    I find premium beef rarely gets marked down and only 5-10% if at all.

    • +2

      Would love Salisbury/Elizabeth/Munno para SA then, Angus beef is always on clearence at Drakes/foodland, as locals cant afford it.

  • It depends on a number of factors for me. When it comes to perishables, they're on clearance for a reason. Would rather spend a little bit more (depending on price) and get fresher ingredients.

  • What times do you reckon these discounted pricing gets slapped on?

    • Roast chickens midday because first batch in the morning is about to expire, or within an hour of close time. Bread are either first in the morning or last of the day.

      • +1

        I find the chicken more dry than the fresh one.

        • +1

          being kept warm for so long may not be healthy either. There are many links about overcooking being a cancer risk.

          • @Peck: What isn't a cancer risk these days?

            • @brendanm: A diet high in whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and lean protein may prevent cancer. Conversely, processed meats, refined carbs, salt and alcohol may increase your risk. Though no diet has been proven to cure cancer, plant-based and keto diets may lower your risk or benefit treatment. Thank you Ms Google :o)

              • @Peck: Key word: may

                I'd like to see the hard evidence to support this.

            • @brendanm: OR smoke cigarettes and get a suntan overlooking chernobyl. Nothing to worry about!

            • @brendanm: Cancer once you have cancer

  • Pretty much our go to is clearance milk and meat, 2-3 days left to expire and 40-70% off.. no brainer

  • +2

    I won't go for dairy products unless I can finish them within next day. Meat is fine because I would chuck them in freezer anyway.

  • +4

    Yes I like bargains.

  • That's the sole reason i go to Spudshed in WA
    They stock end of lines and clearance products which are incredible value for money.
    Fruit and veg leave a little to be desired

  • Most of the time yes, so far I have only 1 bad experience with salad that led to mild diarrhoea.

    • Bad bayleaf?

      • +1

        I may be bad but I'm perfectly good at it.

  • +5

    For sure! A favourite is fancy expensive cheeses that I wouldn’t normally buy due to the price. These generally have a ‘best before’ (bb) rather than use by date but will still be heavily discounted on the last day.

    There used to be a guy at West End markets in Brisbane who would have lots of said fancy cheeses, and would sell them off at $10 for 3 etc, all past their bb, we’d always speculate about his source.

    • +1

      Yeah I remember that guy. I think one time he even had some French cheese. Bargain!

      • I loved going there and getting an assortment! So delicious and our budget was tight at the time. I wish I knew where he was getting them from. The local Coles and woolies does discount a lot of cheeses on occasions but the timing is random so it’s just luck.

        • Yeah he was always abit light on with his sources. Is Nick the tomato farmer still there? He used to be a few stalls down.

    • +1

      Older cheese generally tastes better anyway.

      Ex-UK/EU Couple and find Aussie cheese too bland normally. We used to get some nice Aussie cheese in the UK but here it seems dumbed down here and we've been here since 2002.

      Costco has some excellent cheese BTW.

      • Yep - ageing definitely helps, to a point. Some Coles and woolies seem to have some good cheeses, but they are super expensive when full price. Will have to check out Costco.

  • +1

    I always go to the meat section first looking for discounted stuff, if it's 50% off or more then I'm buying it.

  • Don't seem to have much luck in finding discounted meats beyond 10% off.

  • +1

    No uncooked chicken or Pork. Prepare to buy Immodium just in case.

  • +8

    Soft cheeses like washed rinds, Brie / Camembert, blues are just getting good when they mark them down.

    Local Coles regularly marks meat down to 50% off with a full day left on the best before. Straight to the pool room freezer.

    • +4

      Can confirm for the cheese, will keep them another week or two in the fridge to really finish them.
      Fresh soft cheese is an abomination.

  • Of course, look at where we are…

  • +1

    One thing I always avoid (when near the expiry date) are those bars and balls with coconut in them. The coconut tastes like vomit when close to it's used by date.

    I do check dates on products I plan to buy. If it's near EXP I come back a few days later.

    • +1

      Do you know there is a difference between Best Before and Expiry dates?

      What you have said are Best Before dates, not Expiry dates.

  • +1

    In some what early stages of dating took my now girlfriend down to Woolworths in Carlingford, I filled the trolley with marked down cheeses chicken bread etc…

    She looked at me like I am some sort of cheapo. She is the ABG type of girlfriend straight out of Cabramatta. 7 years later we always look for markdowns first. Also never buy bags just take an empty box from the shelves. Faster to carry into the house as well.

    I love marked down smoked salmon.

    And that is how you stay rich folks.

    • +1

      Classy first date.

    • what is ABG?

    • +1

      I'm a box grabber myself. What I find annoying is the self serve bag area always hates it when I place the box and hit the 'ive got my own bag' button.

  • +8

    I only buy stuff with the discount sticker on it from the fresh food, pre-prepared meals, bakery and meat sections.

    My dad and I had as awesome time during our restrictions last year buying things on sale. At one stage the manager at one of the stores asked him what he wanted on sale and proceeded to chuck 20c stickers on all this stuff and give it to my dad.

  • +1

    I always try to get as fresh as possible. Especially dairy, meat, fruit and vegetables.
    Longer dated goods are often located at the back of the fridge/freezer, which also means that they have been kept colder.
    However there are a few items where I don't think that the 'best before' date makes any difference to their nutritional value.
    For example, packaged unripe avocados.

    • -1

      However there are a few items where I don't think that the 'best before' date makes any difference to their nutritional value.

      Best Before dates have no consideration for nutritional value.

      • Possibly with dry packaged foods like breakfast cereal…………However I believe that 'fresh' fruit & vegs are better for you if fresh! Wax storage etc. is beyond my brain capacity.

        • However I believe that 'fresh' fruit & vegs are better for you if fresh!

          That might be true. However Best Before dates have no consideration for nutritional value.
          They are a date that after which the product might not be as fresh, crunchy, have the texture or flavour that the manufacturer wants and so on.
          Nutritional value is not part of how a Best Before date is set.

  • Assuming i will consume it prior to the use by date sure

    • +3

      If it's meat just freeze it.

  • I presume when you say food you had a limited imagination. Food Stuffs encompass a whole variety of products.

  • -1

    Nope. Never.

    I always buy the freshest, cleanest, organic food I can find.

    • Why organic?

      • Probably a hipster

      • I find it tastes better and I think it has less nasty stuff in it.

        I could be wrong (actually I'm sure I'm at least partly let by marketing) but I can afford it so why not?

        I also try to support Australian business and buy direct from farms where I can.

        • +1

          I think it has less nasty stuff in it.
          I could be wrong (actually I'm sure I'm at least partly let by marketing)

          It probably has more nasty stuff in it.
          Organic is not free from chemicals like a lot of people think.

          organic foods claim to be chemical-free except the organic pesticides they are allowed to use are so dangerous they have been “grandfathered” with current regulations and are not required to undergo strict modern safety tests

          And then there is the fertiliser organic users

          Some of the world’s worst episodes of food poisoning have been traced to pathogenic strains of E. coli and Salmonella that entered human food chain when organic farms used inadequately composted cow manure as a liquid, spray-on fertiliser.

          The organic produce industry’s mantra is: “If it’s natural, it’s safe.” But any common sense says that is wrong. Cyanide is natural, and might even be a good pesticide, but you don't want it on your food.

          Modern pesticides and fertilisers need to meet modern safety and environmental standards, which organic equivalents do not need to.
          Modern pesticides and fertilisers are also more effective so lower quantities are needed.

          Organic food is a first world luxury. The land use for organic farming is less productive meaning that more land is needed to produce the same output of non organic food

          To have raised all U.S. crops as organic in 2014 would have required farming of one hundred nine million more acres of land. That is an area equivalent to all the parkland and wildland areas in the lower 48 states or 1.8 times as much as all the urban land in the nation.

  • +1

    Absolutely! Cheese sections in the Sydney asian areas like Rhodes are the best. The cheapest I scored 150 g pieces of nice French cheese for $0.07. Took all 15 or 20, chuck them in the freezer and enjoyed over a few weeks.

    • I thought standard cheese would freeze just fine, but French cheese (asuming the soft-ripened variety)? Now this is a revelation. Clogged arteries here I come!

      • They are fine, just change texture a bit. Doesn’t matter if you spread them on a nice crusty bread

  • I don't buy meat discounted meat anymore as I had a bad experience once and was forced to throw it out.

  • Specials yes. Marked down for quick sale, generally no.