Home News Vending machine reduces food waste in Yokohama by selling disposable bakery bread

Vending machine reduces food waste in Yokohama by selling disposable bakery bread

by Celia

Efforts to combat food waste are gaining traction in Japan, where the nation’s reputation for cleanliness contrasts with the challenge of excess food disposal in the food industry. Yokohama City, in particular, has introduced an innovative approach to address this issue, drawing attention nationwide.

Local bakery Enmichi Pan has implemented a unique solution to minimize food waste by repurposing unsold bread. Each day, as the bakery closes its doors at 7 p.m., any bread remaining unsold, regardless of its expiration date, is marked down by at least 30 percent and placed in locker-style vending machines located in Kannai Station on the Yokohama Subway Line.

The response to this initiative has been overwhelmingly positive, with eager patrons often forming lines before the lockers are even stocked, and all discounted bread quickly selling out before the end of the day. This sustainable practice is estimated to save one to two tons of food waste annually, offering both economic and environmental benefits.

While the concept has garnered praise from many, Japanese netizens have expressed mixed sentiments. Some voiced concerns regarding safety and hygiene, questioning the potential liability in the event of food-related illnesses. Others enthusiastically welcomed the initiative, expressing a desire for similar offerings in their local areas.

The success of this venture has sparked interest in the possibility of other businesses adopting similar measures. As the SDGs lockers at Kannai Station are not exclusive to Enmichi Pan’s bread, there is anticipation surrounding potential future collaborations to further reduce food waste and promote sustainability.

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