Biodiversity / Food / Water

July 28, 2018


Agriculture and Environment Ministries Create Educational Materials to Cut Food Loss in Japan

Keywords: Food 

Image photo.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) and the Ministry of Environment (MOE) of Japan released educational materials for food loss reduction on April 17, 2018. Trials had found that having the materials displayed in stores helped consumers understand the messaging, raised the awareness of store staff about food loss, and helped reduce food waste rates and price discounting in the stores tested.

In Japan, a large amount of food is wasted even though it may be still safe to eat, resulting in significant "food loss." In fiscal 2015 food loss was estimated at 6.46 million tons across Japan. The Distribution Economics Institute of Japan convened a working group to examine business practices for food loss reduction with the participation of retailers, as part of a FY2017 project subsidized by MAFF. To develop effective materials about food loss for use by retailers, the group prepared the materials, conducted in-store trials, and compiled the results as a report.

To support efforts to reduce food loss, MOE also created materials that local governments can use with their own names added. The materials are available for download on the MAFF and MOE websites.

One of the actions recommended for consumers for food products they plan to consume right away is to purchase items in the order presented on store shelves, rather than the items with the longest best before date or expiration date.

The ministries plan to reach out to retailers and local governments to promote the use of these materials.