Shopping The Food Clearance Rack

The Food Network has a special show called The Big Waste.

It takes food from restaurants, grocery stores and produce farms that is on its way to the trash to make it into meals for a crowd of people.

I was surprised at how much is actually just thrown own.  Several things went through my head, like WHY CAN’T YOU DONATE THIS FOOD!

I’m sure regulations keep some of it from being donated, but what about the rest? We toss out too much food.  There are people starving and we can’t give it away for a fear of a lawsuit.

But this show got me thinking.  I had always shunned the ‘clearance’ produce cart at the grocery store as it was ‘rotten food’.  My husband had started picking up limes for some concoction of limeade he makes himself on a weekly basis, and getting a bag of limes for $1 seemed smart to him and he spends time squeezing them and freezing in snack cups.

I went shopping recently and frequented the clearance produce cart waiting for me in the back of the produce section by the bulk food section.  It was full of many fruits and veggies that were in need of purchase and eat me now food.

I checked it out and looked for food I thought was acceptable for my family to eat.  I bought potatoes for .39 a pound, apples for .59 a pound. Pineapple cored (40%).

From this, I was able to make 3 batches (3 dozen) apple strudel muffins, potato soup, hash brown casserole, baked potatoes, smoothies with pineapple and pineapple chunks.

Many different recipes can be made with food that is on the rack to go out the door.

Don’t overlook the hidden gems on the reduced rack

1.  Take only what you can use in the upcoming week, unless you are going to freeze or can with it.

2.  Items purchased will be ready to use ASAP and cannot wait for a few weeks.

3.  Have a list of recipes you like to make handy or in your memory (I would have to write them down).

4.  You will have to think on your feet for possible recipes you can make with the ingredient.

5.  When you bring the food home, open and review and sort out any spoiled or rotten food.

This will help you save money, and hopefully you will be able to use a coupon or two on some of the produce (some grocery stores offer online store coupons on produce).




  1. momto8blog says:

    I agree…I frequently check the reduced rack!
    most Thursdays I make soup….using the left overs from Mon, Tues and WEd..the soup is always different and tasty..and no waste of left overs!

  2. I SO agree with you. I was in Panera once and there were these three huge bags of bread crusts on the counter. I was meeting a friend for coffee, but it was at a time when we were BROKE. Our cupboards were nearly bare. Finally a lady came out and grabbed the bags… I made eye contact and she said, “Oh these are the scraps nobody wants, do you want them for feeding to the birds or something?”

    I said “SURE” and took them home… and our family ate them. We had grilled cheese and French toast on a variety of crusts. I’m not picky and neither are my kids. If I was there more often, I’d arrange to always pick up their ‘unwanted’ crusts!

  3. I agree! As a mom of six, I always check for day old bread, clearance produce, and quick reduced meats. Many stores I shop at do not do these things though. I watched The Big Waste and my husband and I were horrified. I am trying to get up the guts to ask for the produce they throw away. I am not filming a tv show though! Anyway, I stopped by from Mom Bloggers Club, Google Plus group and plus oned this entry and added you to my circles. I would love it if you would stop by and reciprocate if you wish. Amy B

  4. Oh, I followed you on Networked BLogs too.

  5. This is really good information I’d been reluctant to buy from the food clearance aisle, though goodness knows it’s where I buy everything else. I never considered baking or cooking/freezing. Thanks for the inspiration.
    I like your site.
    Peace and good to you.

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  7. Great ideas! I definitely try to shop on the clearance rack wherever I am. I’ve found some great meat bargains that way as well. I just get out what I can use that night and freeze the rest at a substantial savings!

    • Thanks Shannon. We do that too with meat. I picked up clearance meat (20% off) with a coupon for kraft cheese slices (which happened to also be 50% off), making it an awesome deal on cheese!

  8. Hey Regina! I’m coming from vb – cute blog! I saw that a celeb (forget who) did a show on bin-digging, as in garbage-bin. She found perfectly good foods to eat – not sure if its the same show you’re referring to. Not sure I could do that! Unfortunately, my grocery store doesn’t have a produce clearance section – I think I’ll suggest it! Great tips – would you be interested in posting this for my Five Tips Friday sequence? Here’s a direct link to my blog and you can look at the others –
    Have a great day! Nan

    • Hi Nan,

      I will contact you about that.

      The show on Food Network didn’t dive into the garabage (the thought kinds turns my tummy). They took food from stores that the store was going to toss out because it was too ripe, expired.

      Thanks for visiting!

  9. It makes me sad to see so much food wasted too. I have definitely been guilty, but lately I try to think of ways to use everything.

    • I think it is something we all struggle with Becky. Maybe making smaller meals, freezing leftovers will help. That is what we are trying.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  10. I’m definitely going to watch that show. Sounds interesting to me – although I know I’m guilty of the waste.

  11. Oh yeah! Clearance baby! I’m all over it! With 6 kids, it’s a must :)


  1. […] Reduced Price – Look for the rack in the veggie isle for fruits that are ripe and need to move, they are discounted.  Look for those stickers on meat that they are reduced for quick sale as well.  This will get you through the times you don’t have a lot of money.  I shop that way even when we have extra money. Day old bread sales are great too. […]

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