A discount supermarket in Southend On Sea has been heavily criticised after it emerged that it has been selling tinned food without any labels on in an attempt to sell discarded stock from other major supermarket chains. According to the owner of Benny’s Foods in London Road, the unmarked tins are making good and nutritious food accessible to everyone, but consumer groups have slammed the policy after it emerged that a three-year-old boy was accidentally given Pedigree Chum for his dinner last week.
Benjamin Concilo opened the supermarket in 2014, and he told Southend News Network that his business has never been more popular. He said: ‘People are coming from far and wide to pick up a bargain, and we never charge more than 25p for a tin of unmarked food. Apart from the savings that we are bringing for hard-working families, shoppers get a real sense of excitement out of not knowing exactly what they will be eating until the tin is opened. It could be Chicken Chasseur, Kidney Beans or Pineapple Rings – you simply don’t know until the ring is pulled! Supermarkets discard more than 1,000,000 unlabelled tins of food per month, so we are proud to take these reject items and sell them responsibly.’
Unfortunately, the aggressive marketing strategy backfired last week when Pauline Jumbone from Westcliff picked up a tin for her three-year-old son Marcus. She said: ‘I’m all for making food shopping as reasonably-priced as possible, but I couldn’t believe what happened when I sat Marcus down and gave him his tea. It looked like chunks of steak at first, but the pieces of jelly made me suspicious, and for some reason our labrador Gordon went nuts. I opened a tin of his regular dog food just afterwards and that’s when the penny dropped. I will not be shopping there again!’
We asked Mr Concilo of Benny’s Foods for a response to this allegation. He replied: ‘Unfortunately, this is a risk that you have to take when shopping in our unlabelled tins section. I would like to remind Mrs Jumbone that under EU law, all pet food must be fit for human consumption, and so there really wouldn’t have been any problems giving Pedigree Chum to a growing boy.’