Japan's FY2020 estimated food loss and waste hit record low

The Japanese government says the country's total estimated food loss and waste hit a record low of about 5.22 million tons in fiscal 2020.

Food loss and waste refer to the decrease in mass or nutritional value of food throughout the supply chain intended for human consumption. They include leftover or discarded food by households.

The government has set a goal of halving food loss and waste by fiscal 2030 from the fiscal 2000 level, which was about 9.8 million tons.

Officials released on Thursday the estimate for the year ending in March 2021.

It shows that food loss and waste by companies, including restaurants, accounted for 2.75 million tons.

This was 340,000 tons lower than a year ago. Food loss and waste by households totaled 2.47 million tons -- a drop of 140,000 tons from the previous year. The annual figures were the lowest since the statistics became available.

Officials attributed the drop to increasing awareness among people about the need to reduce food loss and waste. They added that the COVID-19 pandemic may have also had an impact, as people were discouraged from visiting restaurants and other food establishments.

But over 300,000 tons of food loss and waste still need to be reduced to achieve the government's goal.

Tanaka Makoto of the Consumer Affairs Agency said Japan's food loss and waste have steadily been decreasing, but the data for 2020 may be affected by the pandemic. He added that the government will work so that the figures keep decreasing, even when the economy recovers.