According to FAO (United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization) sources from 2015, “Every year around the globe, 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted; that is a 1/3 of all food produced for human consumption.” In 2016, the government announced that 6.32 million tons of food was wasted in Japan. When we compare this figure to the 3.2 million tons of food donated by WFP (World Food Program) in 2014, it means that Japan is throwing away almost twice as much uneaten food compared to the amount donated by WFP. This shocking figure has prompted many Japanese people to think twice.
One eye-opening attempt introduced in various media across Japan including NHK is the social food-sharing platform KURADASHI, operated by the food consulting company Glaucks Co., Ltd. (CEO Tatsuya Sekito). This year, KURADASHI was awarded by the Minister of Environment as a recipient of the 6th Good Life Award. KURADASHI acts as a mediator between consumers and food manufacturers. Many types of packaged food approaching expiry date are sold through their online store at a bargain price. Part of the profit will be donated to NPOs selected by each customer. Through online shopping at KURADASHI, consumers can contribute to society. Fearing damage to their brand, some food manufacturers were reluctant at first, but KURADASHI succeeded in encouraging large companies to join the platform by creating a socially responsible corporate image for them.
As a scientific approach, Japan Weather Association (JWA) is now providing 500 types of indexes based on climate and POS (point of sales) data to small retailers in Japan so they can precisely predict demand in a timely manner. The JWA press release of October 23 explains that retailers can now build their own database under a monthly fee equivalent to a few hundred US dollars. Up to now, small retailers had to invest large sums to purchase and analyze POS data. But by utilizing POS data obtained from True Data,* JWA can now analyze such data collectively. This resulted in lowering the overall cost. Retailers providing seasonal foodstuff like takeaway sushi, salads, tofu, or ice cream bars, will definitely benefit from this service. Such retailers who are largely affected by weather and temperature will be able to avoid excessive production and can minimize food loss. *True Data is Japan’s big-data holder specializing in purchaser data (age, gender, purchase history, frequency, etc.).