Salvage stores offer cheap food, but not for the faint of heart


The recession has been a real boon for supermarkets as more people having been buying store brands and eating at home instead of going out to restaurants. But what can you do when even the supermarkets are not cheap enough for you?

In a continuing trend, some people have begun shopping at salvage food stores. These are the types of stores — usually located in metro areas — that sell dented cans and all kinds of food that is very nearly expired or past expiration date.

When you think about it, traditional supermarkets have so many items on their shelves. Those that don’t sell through (referred to as “unsellables” in the industry) end up past date and are then salvaged out.

Is it a good idea or not for you to buy salvage groceries? There is, of course, a lot of controversy about food safety. But Dr. Ted Labuza, a professor of food science at the University of Minnesota, told The Atlantic, “Foods can remain safe to consume for some time beyond sell-by and even use-by dates provided they are handled and stored properly.”

Unsellables typically sell for half the supermarket price. Their sales are up 40% from just a year ago as more and more people find themselves hurting in the wallet. Back when he was in college, my producer Joel tried salvage stores. He jokes that he’s surprised to be disease-free after repeatedly going around 10 or 12 times. They can be that dirty in his experience!

It goes with saying this is not for everybody. But if it is for you, locate a salvage grocer near you using a state-by-state directory at

Feel I’m way off base even raising this topic? Go to my Clark Stinks forum and let me know why. (Editor’s note: Free registration is required before you can post.)

Welcome bonuses can be a great way to boost the value of a credit card. Best Credit Card Welcome Bonuses for 2022 - If you're in the market for a new credit card in 2022, you may be hoping to cash in on the hundreds of dollars in sign-up bonuses offered to new customers. Welcome bonuses and offers are a marketing tool that…
The best cell phone plans include Tello, Mint Mobile, Visible, T-Mobile, Consumer Cellular and more Best Cell Phone Plans in 2022: Deals For Every Budget - Team Clark ranks the best cell phone plans and deals! See our favorites for unlimited data, families and cheap plans starting at $10/month.
Clark Deals
  • Show Comments Hide Comments