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Grocery Liquidators

Even groceries are available by the pallet-load or truckload from some liquidators. You might naturally be suspicious of the quality of food items sold as overstock, but usually there is absolutely nothing wrong (safety-wise) with closeout groceries. The major sources of grocery liquidations are over-production, packaging changes, and discontinued groceries.


OVER-PRODUCTION: Simply what it sounds like - the manufacturer made too much of it. Perhaps they thought they would sell more to stores, or they merely had an abundance of cheap raw materials (a bumper crop of tomatoes for pasta sauce, for example). Whatever the reason, they made a surplus of it and it is taking up valuable warehouse space.

PACKAGING CHANGES: When manufacturers want to give their product a new image, usually it is only the packaging that changes, not the product inside. When they do this, they do their best to sell all the "old" packaged goods before introducing the "new" package, but it rarely, if ever, works out perfectly. So the products in the old packages are removed from the shelves ("shelf-pulls"), and they get shipped to the liquidator. Other changes in packaging might result from research that shows consumers are more likely to pay X price for Y volume of product, so the old package containing Z volume is "shelf pulled" to make space for the new packaging.

DISCONTINUED: Despite the best market research and testing, even the biggest and most experienced food companies sometimes put a product on the market that simply does not sell well. It might be a perfectly good product, but the packaging does not appeal to consumers, or the size of the packages is wrong, or it is over-priced compared to the competition, etc.  Whatever the reason, they discontinue the product and it goes to the liquidators, where it is bought by people like you who do not care as much about whatever "faults: the product has if it is cheap enough. 

All three of the above types of grocery closeouts are generally sold well within their "sell-by" dates. There is another type of liquidation grocery that is truly a bargain: "close-dated". This means just what you think: the merchandise is getting close to its "sell-by" date. If you have ever grabbed a can from the back of your cupboard and noticed that the sell-by date has passed several months or even a year ago, but eaten it anyway, you are proof that food companies are exceptionally conservative with their sell-by dates. This is a judgment call for you (or your customers, if you are re-selling), but modern food processing techniques (and an abundance of chemical preservatives) generally insures that properly processed and packaged food will still be safely edible long, long after its "quality date".

GovernmentAuctions.orgThe commonly-used name for grocery store liquidations is "banana boxes", because traditionally stores kept their sturdy banana boxes for packing up their closeout and clearance grocery liquidations. It's a name that has stuck with the industry, even if actual banana boxes are seldom used for this anymore.

You will find groceries from every category of the grocery store available as overstock liquidations, even occasionally refrigerated and frozen foods. What seems to be most common is beverages, and among that category, energy drinks.  Beverages are inexpensive to make, and today's craze for energy drinks means every beverage manufacturer wants to get in on the craze. And it seems simple, really - just mix a bunch of sugar and water with some caffeine and some flavors, give it a radical name that will appeal to the kids, and package it in flashy bright colors. So every drink manufacturer is trying it, and seldom do they come up with a winning flavor or marketing campaign. So it all goes to the liquidators, sold for pennies on the dollar.

And because grocery stores do not JUST sell food, you will sometimes find some other goodies available from the grocery liquidators (who typically stick to just "grocery store" products).  Cleaning supplies, paper products, plastic buckets and mops, shampoo and soaps, laundry detergents, toothpaste and tooth brushes, flashlights, small cooking aids like spatulas and whisks and serving spoons, etc.

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