What time of day does your supermarket cut prices?

When do supermarkets offer the best deals?

Mid adult man holding a box of frozen desert in a supermarketCreative image #:  200370791-001License type:  Royalty-freePhoto

Most of us experience a little thrill when we spot the yellow 'reduced' stickers at the supermarket, and enjoy having a rummage for a bargain.

There are often big savings on both essentials and luxuries, and those with freezers can stock up for the future. Usually, products are reduced because they've reached their sell-by date, but there are also often reductions on discontinued items, seasonal items such as Easter eggs or Christmas food or on products with superficial damage.

But when exactly should you hit the stores for the biggest reductions?

MoneySavingExpert has quizzed readers working in supermarkets and established when they cut their prices. It's not hard-and-fast, but should give shoppers a good idea of when to find the best bargains.

Asda: reduces goods by 25% at noon, by 50% at 5pm and by up to 75% at 9pm.

Morrisons: reduces goods by 50% at 5pm by 50 per cent, and by up to 75% at 7pm.

Sainsbury's: reduces goods by up to 25% at 1pm, by up to 50% at 5pm and by 75% at 8pm.

Tesco: reduces some goods by 25% at 8am, by 50% at 4pm and by 75% at 8pm.

Co-op: reduces some goods by 25% at 8am, by 50% at 5pm and by 75% at 7pm.

"Most shop floor staff have the authority to reduce prices at their discretion, so keep your eye out for goods that are damaged or nearing their sell-by dates," MoneySavingExpert advises.

"Their overwhelming cry was: 'We will reduce prices for friendly customers, but if you're rude and demand a reduction – forget it'."

As for how long the food is safe to eat, it's a question of whether it's labelled with a use-by date, a sell-by date or a best-before date.

Only the first of these really relates to safety, and means that food shouldn't be eaten any later - even if it looks and smells fine.

By contrast, food is still perfectly safe to eat after its best-before date; it's simply that the manufacturers think it might not be at its best.

Finally, sell-by dates, and the similar display-until dates, are designed for the supermarkets themselves. They assume that the customer may well keep items for a few days before eating and drinking them - and it's perfectly safe to do so.

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