As I wanted to get a closer look at the reality of the food loss issue, I interviewed a nutritionist at an elementary school in Ibaraki Prefecture and a school cafeteria worker at our school.

Interview with an elementary school in Ibaraki, Japan!

At this elementary school (970 students) , school lunches are prepared in the kitchen located inside the school.
※Due to the new coronavirus, I was able to interview him by phone.

Q.How much of the leftover food come back to the kitchen every day?
Today (Nov. 16, 2020), we served 320 kg of school lunch in food cans and 54 kg came back as leftovers.
It seems that about 17% of the food we serve ends up as leftovers.
Q.How do you dispose of leftover food?
"The city used to have a "zero waste" initiative to return leftover food to the soil, but
Currently, all food is disposed of as burnable garbage."
When I heard the fact that a lot of food waste is generated every day and all of it is burned, I felt again that food loss is a serious problem that needs to be solved.

Interview at our school!

I interviewed the cafeteria staff at our school cafeteria.
Before the new coronavirus, the cafeteria offered four types of set menus for lunch, but now our school has turned those menus into lunch box, which are prepared with reservations.

Q.How much amount of food wasted before and after the new coronavirus epidemic.
Before Corona epidemic, the average weight was about 1.2kg. Now we have very little loss, probably due to reservation system for lunches."
The idea of preventing food loss by having a "reservation system" is a concept that did not exist before Corona epidemic, and I thought it was a very good idea for preventing food loss.
Q.So, the average 1.2 kg of food before Corona was still being disposed of as "leftovers"?
Unfortunately, due to food hygiene issues, all of them are disposed as it is.
Q.What are you doing to reduce food loss?
We utilize frozen ingredients as we can adjust necessary amount with minimum loss. (Raw food has to be used up.)

Thank you very much to the teachers and nutritionists at the elementary school and the chef at the cafeteria who cooperated in this interview.


This time, the interview was conducted at a place such as a school where the number of meals can be predicted in advance to some extent, but even so, I was able to learn about the situation where a certain amount of food is wasted. On the other hand, I think we should be grateful to know that the people who make the food are also making efforts to avoid "food loss" as much as possible.
A local government and the Japan Weather Association have a service that uses AI to analyze the correlation between weather and retail store purchase data to predict demand for food products. In addition, I found an article about a station lunch shop at Tokyo Station that is trying to reduce "food loss" by selling unsold lunch boxes to employees at a discount price after the shop closes. I think it is important to continue to make efforts to eliminate "food loss" in various places and from things close to home.

In the next chapter, I would like to look for the possibility of not only "food loss that is thrown away" but also "food loss that can be utilized or reused".