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Japanese firms getting serious about food waste; households lag behind

23 Comments
By Junko Horiuchi

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households that are responsible for some 66 percent of discarded food are moving more slowly to slash leftover items, 

Umm...the writer is more than welcome to come to my house, my wife manages to "slash" leftover items at dinner at least twice a week. Sometimes I even "leftover" items in my lunch too!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Japanese people eat with their eyes, which causes waste.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I used to work in an obentoya in Ichinomiya. The Hancho in my section(I was assigned in the karaage section) always question me if the amount in kilos(We were asked to weigh the furiyou fried chicken pcs twice during our shift) I produced in my place is less than 15 kgs. per weigh in. Her pt was why would I don't consider as waste some pcs which she considered small? She's been there for a number of yrs and most probably been wasting at least 30 kgs of fried pcs of chicken per line. If the finish product is smaller as what she claimed, she could have requested the cut section to make the cuts bigger since raw meat when cooked gets smaller. I just think the obentoyas wastes so much food more than what the article says.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

No mention of farmers/supermarkets wasting non-standard fruit and veg.

A bit less of eat-all-you-can and silly speed-eating as entertainment on tv would also help.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

The crux of the problem with is that the consumer-oriented system we've been cursed with means that everthnig is too cheap so there is less incentive to reduce waste.

Also if there was better education to encourage more people to grow their own food, more people would understand the real value of food.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I ain’t gonna buy a discounted onigiri because I’ll get 5 points - whoopee !!

I’ll buy it because it’s half price

14 ( +15 / -1 )

We don't have much food waste. We eat what we cook and even left over vegetables goes to making a nice healthy soup. We buy what we need in quantities we need. Food waste nationally and globally is a major issue what needs to dealt with.

In Japan the selection of vegetables and fruits according to shape size or color needs to stop or al least the so called imperfect ones should also be on sale.

Enough foods can be produced to feed the world if there are better management of food waste.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

How are they gonna slash food waste at home?

I smell a tax scheme. Not fair for people who eat their left overs.

Come to think of it, leftovers is staple in Japanese family culture. Something seems off.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The crux of the problem with is that the consumer-oriented system we've been cursed with means that everthnig is too cheap so there is less incentive to reduce waste.

What country are you talking about here? "Everything is too cheap" most certainly does not pertain to Japan in general. Most of the "cheap" food here is imported, locally produced products are expensive as hell!

The problem here in Japan is that people have become accustomed to over packaging, over-hyper regarding "freshness" and too willing to spend overly too much money for far too many products!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

8:30pm in the supermarket is like MMA. Abenomics means people can eat cheaply, but maybe a little old food.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Now, if these companies would turn their attention to overuse of plastics it might become to mean something.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Another major problem even more important than food waste is the overuse of non recyclable plastics.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

8:30pm in the supermarket is like MMA.

I once saw an obasan dump another one on her head like Fedor vs. Randleman for some cutrate beef at the co-op.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The majority of "fresh" food I buy at the supermarket is the discounted, near-end-of-shelf-life items.  It saves me money and it's perfect for living alone.  Lots of people come by, and usually almost everything is sold out before 9p.

The only thing that tends to be wasted at my supermarket is onigiri and the overabundance of take-home sushi/sashimi.  My heart weeps at the amount of overfishing.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The world is awash in safe high quality food, we have too much so we are pickier about what we eat.

Argentina has a whopper of a crop to harvest if they get a break from the rain. The only risk in the world food supply not continuing to outpace demand is the cool wet weather in the US corn belt. They only have around 30% planted and are now losing 2% of yield a day until it gets planted. Otherwise, the mountain of food will continue to grow. There is nothing like a food shortage to reduce waste.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

What about the even greater problem of excessive packaging waste? So much unnecessary plastic and cardboard packaging gets thrown away.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Stop selling so much ready-made food, plain and simple. I love the convenience stores here, but what a lazy culture! It almost costs more to make lunch at home than buy it and wrap it in 300 layers of unrecyclable plastic.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

All neighborhoods should have a pig pen. You dump your food waste separately. It goes to the pigs. Turns into manure. Usable. Tada!! No waste!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Ready made food is convenient for workers, day trippers, tourists, single people living alone. I mostly make our own food, including bento's when we are visiting somewhere. In many stores you can eat the readymades. Different tax story come the sale tax increases.

I don't know if it happens here but in the UK food waste is collected from restaurants which goes to feeding pigs.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It is a good thing that there is enough food to waste.

I knew I would only get down votes as most people believe that there is a shortage of food; there is not. Some people are hungry because of war and politics. The world has more than enough food to feed hungry folks in war torn countries and socialist paradises like North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela.

It is good that Japan has food waste, it is good that there is a surplus of food. You do not want to live in a place with a shortage. It is good government policy that there is a food surplus even if that means some goes to waste. Everywhere in the world where government and people outside the agrifood vale chain think that they can plan and control the system, there is hunger and failure.

You might not be old enough to remember the glory days of the Soviet Union and the Chinese Great Leap Forward but millions starved to death. The free market has done what no number of UN panels will ever be able to do, feed people. FSU went from an importer to a huge exporter of agrifood products and they are no where near reaching peak production. The potential for Africa to produce food is immense, they just need more free market common sense and less government and do-gooder interference.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Born just after the end of the WW2 I was born into a time of food rations. Even after they ended money was scarce.

The value of food wasted in Japan is worth a massive ¥11trn (US$101.6bn) annually. With a population of about 1 25 million, that works out to be ¥100,000 (US$ 1,000) person per year

MAFF
0 ( +0 / -0 )

@zichi Interesting. So you are well aware how government planning and subsidies distort the free market and create either starvation or waste. Subsidies in the EU (Common Agricultural Policy) starting in the 1950's as a bribe to get France signed up have created massive overproduction of food and mountains of food waste.

By far the biggest cause of food waste in Japan is as a result of government subsidies and payments to farmers to produce more food than is needed.

I will argue that if the stated goal of the Japanese government is to reduce the environmental impact of the overproduction of food, the very first step is to immediately eliminate ALL subsidies to agriculture and food production and allow the free market to seek profits by and supply the correct amount of food that is demanded.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The root cause of food waste is fresh food. If everything is can it will last longer.

I worked in a restaurant. We throw everything we couldn't sell to customer at the end of day.

You dont see supermarket dumping cans of food at the end of day right.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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