Beep waste-tracking app

Stores can cut food waste and save on staff hours with expiry-date-tracking app Beep, according to senior NFRN East Midlands district member Stuart McClymont.

The tool enables shop owners and staff to scan products, log the expiry dates and set alerts for when the product approaches the end of its shelf life.

The app recognises most food and drink products, but stores can also manually upload their own information and images.

The tool is available for both Android and Apple mobile devices, and allows retailers to track up to 50 lines for free, or pay less than £45 per year to register an unlimited number of products.

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The NFRN member and owner of Mac’s Newsagents in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, urged shop owners to use it after hearing about another shop owner that had received a complaint from a customer related to buying out-of-date goods.

McClymont told betterRetailing: “It works out at less than £1 a week, and I make this back many times over.

“It’s not just through avoiding stock loss, it’s staff hours. A lot of stores schedule in line-by-line date checking – for instance, checking a category or bay per day. Through the alerts with Beep, you can keep track of it automatically.

“Even if it’s just 15 minutes a day, four days a week that’s a £8.91 saving at minimum wage.”

Describing the advantages for store owners, he continued: “You can set up different users so other team members can use it and the manager or owner can monitor what’s happening as well, even when they aren’t there.

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“I also mentioned it to Environmental Health last time they were in, and it got us a lot of kudos. It shows them that you’re taking it seriously.”

McClymont said he uses the app for all perishable lines sold. Advising stores first getting started with Beep, he said: “You can create categories and adjust the length of time before the sell- or use-by date that the warning comes through per category.

“This means you can tailor the warnings based on shelf life and sell-through time to minimise waste and discount stock where appropriate.”

There are other expiry-date-tracking apps, but many are consumer-focused.

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Rivals to Beep that also have specific tools for trade-inventory tracking include a ‘fresh things – expiry-date-and-inventory tracker’ for Android devices.

Many EPoS services also feature waste-and-expiry-date-and-inventory-management-tracking tools. Convenience stores and supermarkets regularly receive fines for selling out-of-date goods.

Last month, a Costcutter store and its owner were made to pay more than £2,500 for lacking food-safety procedures after inspectors found six lines on shelves with out-of-date stock.

Last April, Tesco was fined £7.56m for repeated incidents of selling out-of-date goods.

Read more news and advice on wastage