March 12, 2007

Buying old stuff at the new stores

Starbucks Frappuccino

I've done a little ranting about the "old stuff" that somehow ends up in the stores in Honduras here and here. I'd really like to know what is going on. It can't just be a coincidence or bad inventory control. The stores in La Ceiba are more likely to run out of things than to have an over-supply of inventory. Sometimes some stores are out of things like sugar, coffee, flour − things that are produced in Honduras!

These are some things I bought at a couple of different stores on Friday, March 10, 2007.

Kraft Cream CheeseI remember buying cream cheese in the U.S. and the expiration date always being around 6 to 9 months away. It amazed me that it could possibly last that long.

In case you can't read it, this one expires March 31, twenty days from now.

Hunt's Diced TomatoesCanned tomato expiration dateCanned vegetables have years of life! I never used to even check the expiration dates. Why bother? Here in La Ceiba, I have to check the dates on EVERYTHING! These diced tomatoes expire June 6, 2007.

Wow! A three month shelf life. That really puts a damper on my stocking-up method of shopping.

Starbucks FrappuccinoStarbucks Frappuccino − I am a recovering addict of the real thing at the corner Starbucks stores, so I didn't buy the bottled stuff often in the U.S. When I did, though, I seem to recall the expiration date being a surprising year away. We have to drink these within the next 30 days.

(Living in Honduras, with no Starbucks, is a good place to get over a Frappuccino addiction − I had to go cold turkey here until some of the stores started importing this bottled Frappuccino.)

I wanted to buy dry yeast but the store only had huge pound-size packages of Red Star yeast and they all had an expiration date of May 2007. I think it would take me at least a year, maybe two, to use a pound of yeast at one or two teaspoons per loaf of bread.

I thought I remembered that the expiration date was usually a year or two away, although the real expiration depends upon keeping it refrigerated as it loses life in the heat and humidity. Sure enough, I checked my almost-used smaller package of yeast at home. It was manufactured in May 2006 and expires in May 2008.

So, what is going on here? When manufacturers or stores have aging products do they sell them to exporters who sends them down to Central America? If so, that's pretty shoddy!

If you have some of these things in your kitchen right now, please go look up the expiration date and tell us in a comment when they expire and what country you are in.
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