Govt to encourage consumers to buy food near use-by dates

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — In a bid to reduce the amount of food discarded uneaten, the Environment Ministry will promote a campaign encouraging consumers to choose food products approaching their use-by dates, officials has said.

The ministry will create promotional posters for the drive and start asking retailers to put them up in their stores around June, the officials said.

Changes in consumer behavior are considered key to reducing the amount of food products that are removed from the shelves for disposal because they are approaching their use-by dates.

The U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, adopted in 2015, aims to halve per capita global food waste by 2030.

Japan plans to include a national target of halving food waste by fiscal 2030 from the fiscal 2000 level in a new basic plan to realize a recycle-based society due out soon.

Of the food loss at retailers, hundreds of thousands of tons is believed to be discarded because the products are close to their use-by dates.

A major reason for the massive food loss is a consumer tendency to avoid older stocks of products at the front of store shelves and pick newer stock at the back. Milk, soybean curd and eggs are among the products heavily affected by the practice.

The ministry will use posters to urge consumers to buy products at the front of shelves if they plan to consume them immediately. The posters will be distributed to municipalities nationwide for posting by retailers.

In fiscal 2015, food loss in Japan increased 250,000 tons from the previous year to an estimated 6.46 million tons after two years of decline.

Recognizing the difficulty of achieving the reduction target, the ministry last year launched a nationwide campaign to encourage consumers not to leave food at parties, where people are often busy talking rather than eating.

The ministry hopes to help change consumers’ mindset by promoting the food waste reduction drives at retailers and restaurants at the same time, officials said.Speech

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