Pandemic helps Japan beat 2030 deadline to cut food loss, waste

Government figures show Japan has beat a fiscal 2030 deadline to slash food loss and waste by half. The drop reflects a decline in restaurant visits during the pandemic and changes to consumption dates on packaged food.

After Japan's food loss and waste reached 9.8 million tons in 2000, the government set a target to cut the figure by half. In estimates for 2022, the latest data available, the volume of discarded food fell to 4.7 million tons to meet the target.

Food waste at businesses saw the biggest declines, while discarded food from households also fell but not by as much.

The decline in business-related waste is attributed to the pandemic-era slump in dining out. Ingredient prices also soared at the time, which helped curb over-production.

Elsewhere, food producers extended best-before dates through improved packaging and stores encouraged consumers to purchase items with nearer expiry dates.