Food products are displayed at Lawson Open Innovation center during an event introducing its next-generation convenience store model in Tokyo. Photo: REUTERS file

Japanese companies go high-tech in battle against food waste

By Tetsushi Kajimoto

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and each of those tiny portions of factory-fresh foodstuffs come in a plastic pack....

16 ( +16 / -0 )

Japan's notoriously fussy shoppers

ah, didn't miss the chance to slip a little bit of Japan mythology in there... (⌒▽⌒)

what "notoriously fussy" might mean though, Dog knows.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

AI the new buzz word, all these years even with the enormous data they were unable to analyze and understand results of their data and are now counting on some program to do.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

More mottainai. More conservation methods.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How about just ‘common sense’ for a change? “A.I.”and the pretended ‘superiority’ of methods and leading technological innovations Japan claims are just a facade.

From recent events, the world now knows Japan is best at wasting both time and money .

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Here’s an idea!: Stop with the annual ‘ehomaki’ overproduction. The ‘ceremonious’ disposal of waste highlighted on the following morning TV shows makes us want to hurl.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Discount products sell better? Weather affects people's activities? And we need AI to tell us this, why?

Maybe AI can tell us how companies have come to be run by such incompetent people who cannot see the obvious.

6 ( +6 / -0 )


jiji XxToday  06:51 am JST

and each of those tiny portions of factory-fresh foodstuffs come in a plastic pack....

Exactly! And eaten with throw away Chinese wooden chop sticks.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

We have almost zero food waste. Old veg and leftover food make soups. Stale bread for bread pudding or in meatballs.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

instead of throwing stuff away, drop the price by 90% the day before or on the last day.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Battle against food waste. I'm all in. When I was a kid, my family lived in various European countries and i've never seen such food waste as in here. I have spent the bigger part of my life in Japan and I feel the food waste issue is getting bigger and bigger over the 30 years I am living here. It just in smaller portions but it adds up a lot.

However, this is just over complicating and over engineering things. This way, they may reduce the food waste, but they increase other waste like packaging, energy needed for tracking, etc.

At this moment, i'd go with the idea of less stuff in the convenience store. Especially in big cities - in big cities like Tokyo, Osaka or Nagoya, there is at least one convenience store in each street or in the same block. It's like 5 or less minutes walk to nearest convenience store. They could cut the brought supplies easily by half.

Another thing that needs to be changed is the obsession with perfect shape, colour etc. For example, if a carrot has weird shape or is slightly discoloured (or with a scar), but still safe to eat, Japanese people would not pick it and it'd go to waste. Or a packed onigiri - if there is a dent, people will go with the one that looks fine. Despite that being only visual issue.

Also - why not selling stuff with visual issues with like 80% discount, instead of throwing it away. I remember asking this my wife almost 20 years ago. And she said "why would they sell it with a loss?!?!!". She would not understand that even selling it with a loss is better than throwing it away and not getting anything.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@zichi. Same as us, and scrapes go in the compost heap. All plastic recycled.

the scary point of this story is that our food choices will be controlled by big multinational companies. Chemicals and preservatives will be increased for longer shelf life, and the variety of ingredients available will be limited. GM foods will only be used to maximize profits. Small farmers will be finished. Fresh food will be difficult to find.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I only eat real unprocessed foods like vegetables and meat from the market anything packaged with a label is what I try to abstain from. Keto diet with zero .

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japanese companies go high-tech in battle against falling profits...

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Same here. Was a single father for a long time, so money was/is always tight.

Any vegetables left looking a little sad means we are having Nabe for dinner!

But I long ago got a small standalone freezer, it hold any meat, I freeze the rice I cook in individual packs ( no plastic wrap reusable containers) meat vacuum sealed in again reusable vaccum packs.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Once asked my local vegetable stand/store. ( Live in shitamachi area), just out of curiosity how they disposed of garbage.

Their reply was interesting. They said they have very little waste.

Apart from some spoilage, they sell everything, if it get a little sad looking they bundle it up and discount and it goes fast.

I was curious because my son had a part time job in a big supermarket and came home complaining about all the food (vegetables in his case) they put in the garbage every day and wen he ask can he take any of the older unsold vegetables home the reply was no never only a discount on the stuff on the market shelves.

Rarely buy from supermarkets use the local Yaoya just buy what is available, work the dinner menu around that.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Not really,, fastfood chains still throw foods rather than giving it to their loyal workers.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If they were really serious they would stop putting random expiry dates on things like canned food.

In reality most can food if properly done and stored has an indefinite shelf life.

Not sure about the rules in Japan but in most other countries there is no expiry date of these types of foods but the makers themselves put one, they claim for taste but in fact it is to sell more product.

How can a can of soup made last year expire after just one year.

Canned food found dating back 50, 60, even 100 years were found to still be safe to eat.

Worse in Japan are the imports. The can of soup Japanese label says 2021 but the can markings from Europe or North America say 2025.

My New Zealand butter say April 2021 on the Japanese stick on label while the New Zealand factory date say August 2022.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

ironically people love japan for the same reason they hate it...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@snowymountainhell believe it or not. Things in Japan aren't as bad as you think they are.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Points taken, @luv raina & @SindhoorGK: “Ironically, people love Japan for the same reasons they hate it....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Aly has it right. Even with the insistence on disposing of food that has reached its best-by date, stores also refuse to heavily discount food that is approaching that date. I can't remember the last time I saw a discount sticker for more than 50%. And even those are getting rarer; these days at my favorite import shop I often see 10-30% discounts even for things that are expiring that day.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

OR........stop selling the crap rice balls that no one likes. But only get sold, because they are the only ones left on the shelves late at night.

They know who they are. We're looking at you, brown slimy seaweed stuff, mayonnaise shrimp, curry anything, and ume anything.

Get rid of stuff like that and there won't be any waste.

Also, discounting food prices as time goes on like supermarkets, would help tremendously.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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