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Vending machine in Yokohama sells bakery bread set to be thrown away, reducing food waste

By Shannon, SoraNews24

Japan may be known for its impeccable cleanliness and hygiene, but the flip side of that in the food industry is that they can end up with a lot of food waste. In recent years, however, efforts have been made in restaurants and hotels alike to reduce food waste in creative ways.

One particular method to tackle the problem in Yokohama City is garnering nationwide attention. Unsold bakery bread from local bread shop Enmichi Pan set to be thrown out at day’s end regardless of expiration date is now being sold in locker-style vending machines in Kannai Station on the Yokohama Subway Line. When Enmichi Pan closes for the day at 7 p.m., they gather bread that hasn’t been sold, mark at least 30 percent off the sale price, and put it in Kannai Station’s SDGs Station Lockers for bread bargain hunters to purchase.

The vending machine is so popular that lines often form even before the lockers have been filled, and all bread inside is sold out before night’s end. It’s estimated that this effort alone could save one or two tons of food waste per year, making it great for the wallet and the planet alike.

Japanese netizens have had a mixed reaction to the news, though, with some in full support of it and others concerned about possible complications in the future.

“I think it’s great to test out, but I worry about safety and hygiene. If someone were to get food poisoning, who would take responsibility? The bakery is also taking a risk; if they sell too many products constantly at a discount, fewer people may buy them at full price.”

“I want one at my local station!”

“This country wastes too much food. I want bentos and burgers to be discounted, too. Just because the sell-by date has passed doesn’t mean it’s bad!”

In any case, many happy buyers are going home with discounted bread at Kannai Station. As the SDGs lockers aren’t exclusively for Enmichi Pan’s bread, we’re curious to see if other local business will use the lockers for similar efforts.

Sources: Yomiuri Shimbun via My Game News Flash

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

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-- Imperial Hotel Tokyo offers crustless bread…in the sense that it never had crust to begin with

-- Cost of uneaten ehomaki sushi rolls in 2022 estimated to be over one billion yen

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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There used to be stores in Los Angeles selling "day old bread" for about half price my dad would hit on the way home from work. He used to joke about buying "used bread" and I still think of that whenever I see the day old shelf at the grocery store.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'll pay the actual price for the non-sketchy bread.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Why throwing away one day food?! Give to the homeless! Give for free. Not all people are so concerned about cleaniness…

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

“be known for its impeccable cleanliness and hygiene,” not any more. Buying old. Lord don’t even buy new often. Head to any restaurant in Japan now and I’d say 70% are filthy. Kitchens of disgusting. No one cleans anymore. I agree that so many things should be sold but if the shops prices them correctly the first time or discounted them then it would be an issue. Supermarkets discount 50% but that’s it. I saw once a full display at 50% off and it was 10pm. Asked if they are discounting more and they said no. I said then what do you do with it? And they said throw it away. That’s the real mindset. Throw a way is better than something. Japan has changed.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Japan should get on board with allowing stores to sell off their surplus unsold food. Apps like Too Good To Go are available in Europe and the US that allow customers to buy unsold food from stores and restaurants for cheap.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Worried about safety and hygiene? Responsbility for food poisoning?

It's just bread. Sold for around 4-5 hours the same day.

Re-filled and almost certainly cleaned every 24 hours.

Can't see food poisoning developing from that.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Nicest thing I’ve read for a long time

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Too much yeast went into the making of that bread.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

"The real problem is that waste should not be thrown out, rather recycled."

It is NOT thrown out, but instead passes through various mid-level supply-chain distribution dealers, with profits extracted by each level. Subsequently, unsold food which has passed its sell-by deadline is in fact recycled...into livestock feed. In other words, into fast-food burgers...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Breads, particularly hard crust ones like in the photo can be preserved frozen. No need to go to waste.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Good. The real problem is that waste should not be thrown out, rather recycled.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Great idea and a great effort.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

A bakery near me in Tokyo has a similar setup. End of each day they’ll load up a machine they’ve got outside with unsold stuff. Standard locker price is 500¥ and each has 3 or 4 items. It’s popular too, with a lot of the locals coming by just after closing.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

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