Artificial Intelligence: AI To Combat Food Waste In Japan
Japan generates more than 6 million tons of food waste annually.
The pandemic has brought food waste under a disapproving glare, and Japanese companies are rushing to comply with the country’s new law that aims to cut food waste levels by 50% (from 2000 levels) by 2030. (LEARNING ENGLISH)
Many of these companies are deploying artificial intelligence (AI) to address the menace. It costs Japan $19 billion to handle its annual food waste of 6 million tons.
Meanwhile, according to Tatsuya Sekito, founder of Kuradashi, an internet-based business that sells surplus food at a discount, the pandemic has nearly doubled the quantum of food waste due to supply chain disruptions.
Japanese corporations deploy AI
Lawson (TYO: 2651), an operator of a chain of convenience stores, has contracted with U.S. technology company DataRobot to fine-tune supply and demand so that surpluses are avoided.
On the other hand, Suntory Beverage & Food (TYO: 2587) is using AI from Fujitsu (TYO: 6702) to help reduce product returns by 30 to 50% and thereby control waste.
Suntory manually segregates products that are damaged during transit. Now AI is helping the company to cut the labor and long time required for this process. AI generates useful insights into the causes of damage. It also estimates the amount of inventory required to be replaced.
NEC Corp (TYO: 6701) is crunching data to get a handle on the impact on demand for food articles based on several parameters, including the weather, the time of year, and people’s buying behavior.
NEC has shared the results of this project with major retailers and food manufacturers. These companies have cut costs by 15 to 75%.
According to Ryoichi Morita, a senior official at NEC, efforts to cut the waste of food will have a spin-off effect on other business problems such as labor shortages, supply-demand efficiency, and overall cost control.
Image Credit: Flickr
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