Growing interest in “food loss” in Japan
Food loss has become a global social problem. Rakuten Insight conducted an online survey on food loss in Japan over a two-day period from July 17 to 18 this year, targeting 1000 citizens aged from their 20s to their 60s nationwide. The study found that more than 90% of people are resistant to wasting food and less than 90% are concerned about “food loss,” whereby food is discarded even though it is still edible.
Regarding the difference between best-before date and expiration date, nearly 90% of the respondents answered “know (a total of “I know well” and “I know to some extent”),” indicating that the difference is widely recognized. On the other hand, when asked about points to consider when purchasing food, more than 50% of respondents said they were concerned about “price” in many food categories. Among food categories for which respondents expressed concerns, “milk and dairy products” were the highest, with 33.3% of respondents being concerned about “best-before date” and 24.8% about “expiration date”, respectively, while less than 30% of respondents said they were concerned about “best-before/expiration dates” in other categories.
Regarding food that is often thrown away after its expiry date, the most common response was “vegetables and fruits” (29.4%), followed by “milk and dairy products” (21.3%), and “meat and fish” (16.4%).
More than 90% responded as “resistant (a total of “very resistant” and “I have a little resistance”).” As for food loss, the combined total for “viewed as a problem” and “I am a little concerned” was 86.0%, far exceeding the combined total of “I don’t think it’s a problem at all” and “I don’t really care about it,” which was 3.5%, indicating the heightened awareness of food loss.
In terms of the main measures currently being taken to reduce food loss, there were multiple answers, as follows: “to leave anything to eat ― leave nothing to eat” (81.3%), “purchase only the amount needed” (70.8%), and “eat food that has passed its expiration date if there is no problem” (65.8%). Regarding efforts to reduce food loss, which have been initiated mainly at convenience stores, when asked, “If there is a discount, would you like to buy food with a near expiration date?” nearly 90% answered, “I want to buy (a total of “I really want to buy it” and “I’d rather buy it”).”