Demonstration Tests to be Held for Food Waste Reduction Taking Advantage of Electronic Tags (RFID)
- Effort for reducing food waste in convenience stores -
October 28, 2020
*This press release was revised on December 23, 2020 in order to incorporate more accurate language from Japanese to English translation.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has been advancing the FY2020 Project for Establishing Infrastructures for Enhancing Efficiency of Distribution and Creating Value Added Therein (Project for Food Waste Reduction in Convenience Stores Taking Advantage of IoT Technologies), which has been commissioned to ITOCHU Corporation. As part of this project, METI will conduct demonstration tests for food waste reduction taking advantage of electronic tags equipped with radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology in convenience stores.
1. Background to and purpose of the project
The distribution industry has been facing the advancement of serious labor shortages caused by the aging of society with fewer children being born, soaring labor costs in accordance with such shortages and diverse consumer demand. In addition, as the industry embraces many businesses in its supply chains of consumer goods, this situation is considered to make overall optimization of the industry difficult, resulting in food waste and returned goods.
In light of this situation, METI publicized two declarations jointly with operators of convenience store chains and with the Japan Association of Chain Drug Stores (JACDS), respectively: the “Plan to Introduce 100 Billion Electronic Tags for Products in Convenience Stores” in April 2017*; and the “Declaration of Initiatives for Making Drug Stores Smarter” in March 2018.** Since then, METI has been advancing enhancement of efficiency in related supply chains taking advantage of RFID and other technologies.
In this project, METI will conduct demonstration tests in which participating convenience stores will affix RFID tags to products with shorter expiration dates, e.g., boxed meal and rice balls, and automatically manage the state of inventories and expiration dates of such products by taking advantage of RFID. The program will focus on products whose sell-by or consume-by dates are approaching and offer premium points or discounts for the purchase of the products in convenience stores. Through these tests, METI will aim to enhance the efficiency and productivity of supply chains, e.g., advancing labor saving, reducing food waste and lowering food wastage rates in convenience stores.
- *1. Plan to Introduce 100 Billion Electronic Tags for Products in Convenience Store
- **2. Declaration of Initiatives for Making Drug Stores Smarter
2. Summary of the demonstration tests
In the demonstration tests, participating convenience stores will attach electric tags equipped with RFID to products with shorter expiration dates (e.g., boxed meal and rice balls) when receiving and inspecting such products, and then automatically manage real-time information on the products (state of inventories, sell-by and consume-by dates) by taking advantage of smart shelves, a technology which reads data from the electronic RFID tags.
Concerning products whose sell-by or consume-by dates are approaching, participating convenience stores will offer premium points to consumers who make use of a predetermined smartphone application or discounts for the purchase of the products in convenience stores. Moreover, by taking advantage of the tablet terminals installed on the smart shelves where such products are located in convenience stores, they will notify consumers in an easy-to-understand manner of premium point offers and other services.
METI will collect the results of these demonstration tests and verify the effects of lowering food wastage rates, advancing labor saving and other goals.
Demonstration test 1 (to be conducted in collaboration with FamilyMart Co., Ltd.)
Period of the test
From November 2 (Mon.) to 30 (Mon.), 2020
FamilyMart Keio Presso Inn Ikebukuro Store, and Famima!! ThinkPark Store (Osaki, Tokyo)
Demonstration test 2 (to be conducted in collaboration with Poplar Co., Ltd.)
Period of the test
From December 7 (Mon.) to 28 (Mon.), 2020
Poplar Kishimojin Store, and Seikatsu Saika Akihabara Station Store
Division in Charge
Consumer Affairs, Distribution and Retail Industry Division, Commerce and Service Industry Policy Group