Biodiversity / Food / Water

January 30, 2013


Japanese Non-Profit Working to Expand Food Bank Activities

Keywords: Food NGO / Citizen 

POPOLO, a Japanese non-profit organization established in 2009 to operate a food bank, receives food products discarded before their expiration date from supermarkets and retailers due to their own quality standards, and provides them for free to the needy and other support organizations.

In Japan, 5 million to 9 million tons of food are disposed of annually, according to a fiscal 2005 estimate, even though there may be no problem with quality. This food is considered to have lost its market value simply because of a few defects or misprints on package labels, or in the case of agricultural products, because the supply is irregular or surplus.

The food bank collects and distributes these food products in order to help improve the lives of under-privileged people by securing food for them, to keep the cost of living down, and to reduce environmental impacts by decreasing the amount of wasted food, while also lowering disposal costs for companies.

In the U.S., food banks have already existed for 40 years, but they only began operating in Japan in 2000. While awareness among the public is still low, Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) aims to further promote these activities by engaging in projects such as conducting a survey in 2009 on the state of food banks in Japan.

Related JFS article:
Nation-Wide Network Built at the Third Symposium for Food Banks
High Percentage of Food Waste from Hotels in Food Service Industry in FY2009
Japanese NPO Promoting Food Bank to Make Effective Use of Food
[Sustainability College] Food Security in Developed Countries