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New store sells damaged groceries at discounted prices

By Luke Jones
Published On: Feb 16 2014 06:16:14 PM CST

A local store is taking a novel approach to discount groceries. Luke Jones reports.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

Take a walk around Johnson's Discount Foods on Woodruff Avenue in Idaho Falls and the first thing you'll notice are the discounted prices.

But on closer inspection, you'll see that most of the products lining the shelves come with defects.

"We just found a supplier who will sell us damaged goods. Close-to-date things. We even got bread that's, you know, that's stale bread, and we just sell it at a fraction of the cost of the grocery store,” said Jacob Johnson, who opened the store Saturday.

Johnson stresses his products are safe to eat -- even if they're not so appealing to the eyes.

"We have Pasta Roni here. Perfectly fine. Damaged box, right, just crushed a little. Got something that's set on top of it. $0.69 for something like that. Farther down here we have the cake mixes. The top of the box is open. The package is completely untouched on the inside though and they can't sell that,” said Johnson as he worked his way through some of his merchandise.

Johnson's also stocks a number of products that are past their expiration dates. Local News 8 found a bottle of barbecue sauce that was marked to expire last year.

Johnson said hundreds turned out for his store's grand opening Saturday. He said his target demographic of price-conscious consumers is growing.

"The population in general wants cheap food. They want things they can afford. The economy's not doing very well and even when it is doing well, why pay more for something that tastes the same, that's just the same?" Johnson asked.

In the case of dented cans, Johnson said he checks them to make sure they aren't spoiled.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers several tips for avoiding food contamination:

  • Avoid canned foods with bulging lids or with deep dents that create any opening for bacteria.
  • Consider boiling food for 10 minutes prior to eating. The high temperature should kill any bacteria.
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