Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
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【METI Mobile】6.42 million tons per year! - food loss and waste in Japan

Food on the shelves in supermarkets.

An incredible 6.42 million tons of edible food is being thrown away every year in Japan, according to official government data. This is about twice the total amount of food provided by the United Nations in annual aid to countries in need.

Why such a huge amount of waste?
The underlying cause of food loss and waste is the common business practice in Japan for retailers to order more food than required. That’s because retailers like supermarkets place their orders to wholesalers and suppliers to ensure they always have items in stock and never run out. As a result, a large percentage of food in stock is disposed of ahead of their “best before” dates.
METI promotes research on how to leverage big data
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) is promoting research to reduce food loss and waste by combining two kinds of big data?weather and distribution data. Providing data analysis of the correlation between temperatures and the sales of food on each day will enable retailers to predict demand more accurately and manage their inventories more effectively.
Potential to reduce food loss and waste by up to 40%
METI research found that this kind of big data analysis can lead to a 30-40% reduction in food loss and waste. However, to make our efforts effective will require manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers to share their data. METI is committed to furthering this research working in close cooperation with firms from every part of the food distribution chain.
Last updated: 2016-01-08
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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