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FSA AND POS: New ruling affects retailers

Food labellingA ruling this month was labelled a ‘landmark’ decision by the Food Standards Agency – and will have an impact on many independent retailers. The ruling will mean that retailers will need to tighten their ordering on perishable foods – and perhaps step up their POS to improve turnaround times.

The case was reported in The Grocer magazine

The judgment handed down by the court on 31 July relates to a long-running case involving Torfaen Council and butcher Douglas Willis, who was accused of having in storage frozen meat carrying a use-by date that had expired. Under food labelling laws, only highly perishable foods need to carry use-by dates frozen foods require only a ‘best-before’ date. The court looked at whether labelling rules allow retailers to take a perishable food with a use-by date and freeze it - thereby stopping it from being perishable - and then sell it to consumers after the original use-by date has passed, and found this should not be allowed. The FSA welcomed the judgement, which it said was of national importance for local authority enforcers and the food industry. “The Supreme Court judgment now clarifies beyond doubt that food which has passed its use-by date shouldn’t be sold to consumers,” a spokesman added.


The ruling will have an impact on many Independent retailers – especially those who are concentrating on niche food and deli sectors. Stock maintenance will become even more critical but so will effective retail display and Point of Sale.


Increased importance of point of sale

We have written before about the importance of point of sale on rate of sale and the ruling adds to this important debate.  Creating effective displays and communications outside and inside the store will help create a market for the products, and clear communication and signage within the store will guide customers to the relevant product range – boosting sales and rate of sale.

To do this effectively will not break the bank. There is a wide range of off-the-shelf point of sale such as sign and poster holders, leaflet dispensers to boost branding and product information that will support general displays, boost new product launches and improve customer communications.

The new ruling offers new challenges – and new possibilities for the Independent Retailer.