Food products are displayed at a Lawson store in Tokyo. Photo: REUTERS file

Seven-Eleven, Lawson to discount foods close to expiry to cut waste


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Shouldn't this have been the protocol since day 1?

17 ( +20 / -3 )

This shows UK is a lot smarter than Japan. There is an expiry discount section at groceries. But people even fight to get it the most, there is a video of Tesco Store on Youtube.

Even in retail stores, they sell any items no matter what, even the items that was on display 5 years ago.

But in Japan, it seems like they waste more than they sell.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

My local grocery store has always done this. I guess it’s specifically for convenience stores. However, buyer beware, don’t ever buy discounted seafood - unless it is for your cat.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

BackpackingNepalToday  04:27 pm JST

“This shows UK is a lot smarter than Japan. There is an expiry discount section at groceries”

All the grocery stores/supermarkets I’ve been to in Japan over the past 40+ years also have had discounts on things close to the expiry date or aging vegetables etc. This article is about convenience stores.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Just about every Japanese food store discounts food produce everyday, when the item hits the sell by date with discounts from 10% to 90%. Ready made food will be discounted near the end of day. Yesterday bought some meat with 40% discounts.

I think not all UK discount including Marks&Spencer who dump all their fresh foods into dump bins. Not even the staff are allowed to buy. Sometimes I would go behind a M$S and get some of those discarded items still in their package. That would be theft.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Supermarkets do it in Japan, how is this not a thing already?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

What cost do they have to shoulder by giving a discount on such food items? It sounds like they are doing the customer a favor. Discarding edible food brings a higher cost than discounting them. What a bunch of crooks

0 ( +1 / -1 )

start discounting rice balls and lunch boxes 

Just because you dont like it does not discount the fact that rice balls are onigiri and acceptable in English. They are not BALLS!

4 ( +7 / -3 )

This shows UK is a lot smarter than Japan

Learn to read articles before commenting. This has nothing to do with grocery stores, and it just goes to show that maybe Japan is a hell of a lot smarter than the UK here!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This shows UK is a lot smarter than Japan. There is an expiry discount section at groceries. But people even fight to get it the most, there is a video of Tesco Store 

That's because a lot of the stuff at Tesco looks as though it has already been thrown away by a typical Japanese store. I remember lamenting with a supplier and asking "They insist on fresh foods, we sell them fresh food, yet all the stuff on their shelves looks a week past the sell-by date. How do they manage that?"

2 ( +2 / -0 )

zichi, that policy changed back in I believe 2008, they now discount items. Public pressure on food waste forced them to. A lot of this chains also donate it to charities feeding the homeless etc.

Japan is not alone in wasting far too much food, most of the developed world does. I am not sure if it is applicable to Japan but in the UK there has been considerable outcry over the major chain supermarkets rejecting less than perfect veg and fruit and farmers having to plough it back in to the ground, so much so that they all now sell a range of specifically less than perfect fruit and veg .

Public pressure on convenience store head companies is the only effective tool. Because the franchise model distances the franchiser from the cost and the customer they have no incentive unlike the supermarkets.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

All developed countries on a daily basis waste/dump billions of tons of food produce. In fact, it would be enough to feed the starving billions if we able to get it to them. The biggest waster are Americans who dump more than 50% of what they buy.

Japan is a major food waster with the rejection of fruit and veg which does fit the perfect size, shapes and colors. We try to buy as much local farm produce off the farmers which usually still has some soil on them. The Japanese problem is the over-packaging of items with various forms of plastics which will end up in the sea and oceans.

Australia had the world's largest food waste per capita, with some 361 kilograms of food wasted per person. Followed by America at 278 kilograms

Every year, Japan wastes about 18 million tons of food. Japan burns or buries 3.3 million tons of commercial food waste every year. Then it imports 10 million tons of corn to feed animals, more than any other country.

Around ¥10,000 to ¥15,000 worth of lunch boxes are thrown away daily from convenience shops. Multiplied by almost 41,000 such shops in Japan, that brings the waste, in retail terms, to a staggering ¥220bn per year. Enough to feed 50 million people for a year.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The Japan Fair Trade Commission ordered Seven-Eleven Japan in 2009 not to hinder franchise store operators from selling items nearing their expiration at a discount, but operators say they could not get the headquarters' approval to cut prices most of the time.

This is 2019, which means the order was never followed. For ten hood years nothing was done for the order to be followed.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

We will try to cut food loss by 50 percent by 2030 from the current levels," Takemasu told a press conference. "It will be beneficial to customers, the environment and our store owners who had to carry the costs to discard unsold items."

Why does it have to take until 2030 to achieve a 50% reduction in food waste. It doesn't seem to me like they are really serious. A half hearted gesture as usual.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Rotten food accounts for 34% of all methane emissions

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The logistics operations of the large convenience stores chains are state of the art. It's necessary when you have thousands of stores nationwide with probably multiple deliveries per day (do the math). If they put even 10% of this level of effort into reducing food waste, it can have a huge impact. Clearly it hasn't been a priority until now.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow! There are some pretty whacky comments in this thread. Nobody gives a fat rat’s what other countries do. This article is about Japanese convenience stores, who until recently, have just kept foods on the shelves until their use by date and thrown it away. Hopefully, this will not result in unscrupulous vendors relabeling foods.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

How about giving the food to homeless shelters?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

They are finally getting on board with the supermarkets. That is the best time to buy meat.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

All developed countries on a daily basis waste/dump billions of tons of food produce. In fact, it would be enough to feed the starving billions if we able to get it to them. 

Yes, well that last part of your sentence is the kicker. What do you propose?

I imagine it's possible, but it's anything but easy. It cost money and takes time to ship food. Who will pay for it? Once you've worked that out, how do you possibly get the food shipped and delivered before it becomes inedible? And what do you say to people who complain that you are using them as waste dumps for your spoiled food?

And when all is said and done, is shipping unsold food waste really the best way to help hungry people? Or can all those resources (money and time) be used more effectively to fund another approach? Maybe a certain amount of food waste is preferable to an unsustainable program where zero food is wasted.

It's a complicated issue.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If developed countries decreased their food waste would increase the amount of foods available to poorer countries. It's not a case of "shipping food waste" to hungry countries which can't be achieved but can be improved by a big reduction of waste.

There are many reports and plans for reducing food waste in order to feed the hungry.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Good move. I've always thought it weird that something that was perfectly edible right up until 12:29PM should suddenly become a health hazard at 12:30PM.

2 ( +2 / -0 )


Obviously the point is not to feed people with waste food 2 days before "Best Before"

The point is to direct the raw food (not crappy industrial "food") to the right place timely.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I hate that it’s clearly taken some kind of cooperative agreement between companies for this to start.

Its common sense that this should happen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It'll help sell a LITTLE more, but ultimately they need to think about how they date things, and people here need to realize that stuff is still perfectly fine after a "best before" date (not expiry date).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That's it? A 5% discount to customers enrolled in the points programs, and they call that an incentive? These guys need to take a lesson from British stores, where we mark down the prices like mad to get rid of them. Doesn't matter what it is. Bread, milk, fancy creamcakes. By the evening of the expiry date, it'll be 10p or less, even if the original price was closer to £5. You shift things faster if you mark the price down for all customers, first of all, and if you mark it down by a worthwhile amount. Knocking 5 yen off a rice ball really isn't going to make any difference.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Oh seems to me that "other" countries have the same problem. I hope some folks get off their high horses!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If developed countries decreased their food waste would increase the amount of foods available to poorer countries.

How, exactly? I worked in this business for years, and looked at this issue.

There are only very rare cases where a developed country reducing consumption would have a great effect in another country.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Fox Sora Winters, wholly agree.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


You clearly haven't been to Japan for any period of time. Since ... beginning of time... Supermarkets discount foods that are near expiry date both here, and pretty much elsewhere in the World -though in the UK I haven't seen much of that happening of late - perhaps because the Store Workers there are too lazy or underpaid (who knows).

Here in Japan, 7-11, like other "Convenience Stores" however generally don't need to discount, since by the time the next refill arrives, their shelves are usually bare - which implies the Store location is good. If a Store continually has left-overs then either the product is without consumer favour, or the store location is in question. Common sense.... right ?

As for the UK... two words

Food Banks

That, is the sorry state of the UK these days. The UK needs a Donald Trump figure to Make Britain Great Again ! Nigel may be the one, who knows.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Fox Sora Winters

Yes, some stores in the UK will slap on label with discounts, but others won't. The level of enthusiasm I have observed between store employees is related to my previous comment.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For the Record, from observation within my own small neck of the World - locally AEON stores use 5%, 10%, 20%, 30% & 50% discount labels on products that near their end of life.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Also, AEON stores are pretty much competing with the likes of 7-11, some operate 24x7 .... if you live in a City such as Tokyo, things are vastly different from out in the sticks, just like in any other Country.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Struck this a few weeks ago when I wanted to buy some sandwiches, at a Family Mart I think it was.

The item was still on the shelf but it had 'expired' the day before.

i said, it's okay, it's only one day, I'll still take it, for full price too. But the young lass behind the counter wouldn't let me have it, because the bar code on the wrapper had also expired and she couldn't ring up the sale.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Finally! Now I won't have to go to the supermarket every time after 8:30 pm to get discounted stuff.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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