Broadcast on February 2, 2019
Available until March 2, 2019
Japan produces 6.46 million tons of food waste per year. Some of the foods that are thrown away are still edible but are tossed as they are deemed too damaged or deformed to sell in standard stores. In order to not only reduce waste, but to capitalize on an untapped business opportunity, a unique chain has begun purchasing these unwanted fruits and vegetables directly from farmers at discount prices, so it can then pass the savings on to customers. The company also uses the unsold produce to make boxed bento lunches and delicious smoothies, where appearance doesn't matter, to turn in even larger profits. Yet another "food loss prevention" business is using its technological expertise to help match shops with consumers who are looking to buy low-cost food and beverage products. This episode features new food businesses that are looking to make a profit while helping to eliminate food loss.
The human touch may soon be a thing of the past at Chinese stores and restaurants. With help from the country's biggest online retailers, they're developing high-tech ways to deal with the country's rising labor costs. Alibaba opened a bakery with a leading chain in Beijing last May. And JD.com opened a showcase robot restaurant in Tianjin in November. We take a look at how China is using technology to boost retail profit margins.