Shopper asks 'should I feel guilty' about buying yellow sticker food

A container of skimmed Cravendale milk that has been reduced and labelled with a yellow sticker
-Credit: (Image: Daniel Harvey Gonzalez/Getty)


People looking for ways to save some extra cash may be tempted by 'yellow sticker' discounts at supermarkets. Such items are destined for the bin due to their short shelf life and have price tags slashed to compensate.

The price of food on the supermarket shelves has skyrocketed in recent years due to inflation. According to official reports by Which?, this is gradually beginning to fall but is still higher than previous years.

Recently, a person took to MoneySavingExpert's discussion forum to express their worries while shopping for food. Posting on the website's Money Moral Dilemma forums, they said: "My wife and I have steady jobs with good salaries and live within our means.

"We've always shopped in the clearance section at supermarkets, but with the huge increase in food prices over the last two years, I've begun to feel guilty about it. We're fortunate enough that we could pay full price, and with so many struggling, it feels like we're taking an opportunity from those who need it more."

This had people divided in the thread. Some said it's fine to save a bit of money regardless of your financial situation, but others claimed the section is a lifeline to those less well-off and it should be kept as such.

A basket of food products in a supermarket each with price reduction stickers on them
Should people feel guilty for buying cheaper food if they can afford full price? -Credit:Dazeley / Getty Images

One person wrote: "I think with things the way they are money wise, if you don’t need to, you shouldn’t. A few weeks ago, a woman in a suit cleared out the reduced section that my children and I were patiently waiting to have a look at.

"She got a trolley load and we went home and had a piece of toast before bed. My 8-year-old said how mean she was to leave nothing.

"If you’ve got the privilege to be able to afford normal prices, then why wouldn’t you. Some of us are having to choose between bills and dinner for us and our children!"

A second person commented: "Honestly, if you truly can afford to not shop in the 'cheaper aisle' then I think you should stay away. Only because I know some shoppers who only shop in the 'cheaper aisle' as it's the only place they can afford to shop."

Others were quick to defend the shopper's dilemma. A fellow discount buyer said: "There's no need to feel guilty about doing this, it is helping reduce food waste."

Another added: "I don't think this is an issue at all. It would only go in the skip if nobody bought it."

Someone who claims to work in a supermarket chimed in with a plea not to ignore the yellow sticker section. They said: "I work in a supermarket - please buy the reduced items. The amount we have left at the end of the night is sad.

"We have charities collect but they won’t take the ‘use by’ items. As a previous message said, they are literally worth less, so buy what you need. There are also charities that take cooked food and share out. Maybe once in a while you would like to do this, if you still feel any sort of guilt?"