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Get the low down on top supermarket’s reductions and how to snap them up! Alice at Magic Freebies has created a go-to guide for how to shop at Yellow Label O’Clock.
With so many huge supermarket names on the scene who all claim to offer the best deals, it can be hard to know which to choose and how to shop competitively. There’s no doubt that in a perfect world, we would be able to snap up all the reduced items across all the shops – but this simply isn’t possible!
The main issue with yellow label is that it is a popular way to shop and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by hardcore shoppers ‘mobbing’ the aisle. This can often result in panic-grabbing, because surely a bargain is better than no bargain? Many people will tell you this is an awful way to do it, as you may end up with items you’re not used to eating that may end up in the bin instead. We’re here to say it’s not all bad, and we challenge you to get creative with what you nab before others get there first! Why not check out this amazing recipe site that helps you cook with what you already have? Just enter the bits you’ve snapped up in the yellow label section and see what it suggests.
Unfortunately, Yellow Label O’Clock is down to the store manager’s discretion, meaning there are no over-arching rules for each supermarket. The best place to start, is to do your own research – head to your local shops and just ask when they slash their prices
Everyone has different eating habits and varying numbers of mouths to feed – so it’s important to keep an eye on types of food your nearest shop reduces. Whilst the items will be completely unique every time, you can get the general gist of what is often leftover. For example, convenience shops such as Co-op and Tesco Express are more likely to offer reduced meal deal items such as sandwiches, chilled snacks and ready prepared vegetables. Superstores are more likely to reduce bulk bag items and goods with packaging that has been damaged – for example ASDA uses “Whoops!” stickers to radically slash prices on cosmetically-impaired products.
It’s time to throw the recipe book out the window, because it is impossible to cook a textbook dish with reduced items, due to the unpredictable nature of what you can find. Say you’re planning to make a lamb curry with peppers and cauliflower, but you can only find yellow label chicken, peas and cabbage – then make a chicken curry with alternate veg! You would be surprised at how tasty improvised dishes can be.
There are a number of self-confessed yellow label “stalkers” and “trolley sharks” who bring a level of competition to this style of shopping. Don’t let this put you off – shop staff have said time and time again that they are more likely to help polite shoppers anyway. Don’t be afraid to blindly grab at the items – this can be a great way to try new foods and build a whole meal around discounted items.
From experience, it would seem the best shop for aggressive reductions is ASDA – their reductions have seen £12 party cakes reduced to a mere £1! These incredibly low prices have seen brawls break out in the aisles and poor shop staff having items snatched out of their hands before they can even place products on the shelves.
Whilst ASDA, as well as Tesco have the biggest discounts, Co-op are possibly the most regimented for their timings. This makes it easier if you prefer to stick to a routine! Most Co-ops reduce items at 10am, then again at 3pm then finally between 6-7.30pm.
When in doubt, use this forum from MSE to give you the low-down on reductions from industry insiders.
* Please note: Every store reduces at their own set times and each manager will run things differently. These times have been obtained through simply asking local shops & through word of mouth. If you’re looking for more accurate times for your local shops, head in-store to find out & make a note on your print-out at the bottom of this page. *
Alice says she popped into Co-op at about 8pm on a Saturday after being out and needing a quick bite to eat. She snapped up two packs of sandwiches, a salad from their Irresistible range, two punnets of blueberries and a big punnet of grapes for just £1.47. At full-price these items would have set her back £14.60, that’s a whopping 90% discount.
Because the savings were so great, she treated herself to a tub of ice cream to enjoy with the blueberries and grapes – yum!
Most shops reduce fresh food products in the last 2 hours before closing time, but if you shop at a 24-hour store you can expect to see reductions from around 7pm then further reductions at around 9pm.
If you are desperate to muscle in on the amazing savings to be had with yellow stickers but you’re not keen on battling it out with the superstore sharks, I recommend trawling the smaller convenience shops for discounts as they tend to hang about a little while longer.
Do you mix it up and shop at a variety of major supermarkets? Then why not print off this useful guide – Alice from Magic Freebies says “I keep one on the fridge at home and in my bag so that I know what times to go when I’m out and about”.
What are your Yellow Label tips & tricks? Let us know if we missed any!