Using a Discount App to Reduce Food Loss
Discarding edible food, the so-called “food loss” issue, is also a problem in Japan. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, 6.4 million tons of food is lost every year, which is like one cup of tea being thrown away every day that year.
Food loss is a major issue in the convenience store industry, as seen in the mass disposal of ehomaki during the Setsubun holiday season, which has become a social problem. Convenience store chains have recently attempted to reduce food losses, such as increasing the point return rate for products nearing their expiration dates. Poplar Co., Ltd. was one of the first major chain stores to offer discounts on items that are likely to expire.
We can use the coupon application “No Food Loss” developed by the H.I.S. subsidiary for the purpose of solving food loss by selling expiring food at a discount. The app notifies users of food losses from nearby stores in the form of coupons and allows them to verify the coupons directly at stores—permitting them to purchase the items at a lower price. Since February 2019, we were able to reduce levels of food waste as a result of using this process at directly-managed Poplar stores in the Kanto region. As a result, we introduced the system to 85 directly-managed Poplar stores from the Kanto region to Kyushu.
With this initiative, some items can be purchased for up to nearly half the price. A portion of the money purchased by the users will be donated to school lunches for children in Africa and Asia.
It has been a taboo in the convenience store industry to sell products at a discount when they are removed from the store due to the approaching expiration deadlines. To realize a sustainable society, it is essential to have an adaptable attitude and the courage to take action against taboos that can be reformed, similar to Poplar stores.