At Seven & i Holdings, food products account for a large portion of net sales. With this in mind, we have been advancing measures based on the key themes of reducing food waste and promoting recycling.
Our priorities for reducing food waste are to curtail the generation of waste, promote the reuse of waste, convert waste into feed and fertilizer and recover heat. The Seven & i Group is currently conducting initiatives centered on converting waste into feed and fertilizer. For example, IY has been engaged in “recycling-oriented agriculture” since 2008. Under this system, food residue generated by IY stores is composted and used by Seven Farms to grow vegetables. These vegetables are then sold at IY stores. Looking ahead, we will continue to establish these recycling systems in each region, with a view to enhancing the recycling rate.
We are also taking steps to curtail the generation of waste, including innovating sales methods and developing products with longer-lasting freshness. Looking ahead, we will continue to advance innovative initiatives to prevent the generation of food waste, such as by developing new products and services. Another crucial priority is to promote the reuse of waste. We will strengthen our hand in this area by considering the use of food banks and other measures.
In order to reduce food waste, the Seven & i Group has been innovating its sales methods, products and other aspects of business in various ways. For example, IY has introduced sales methods such as selling individual loose items and selling by weight, enabling customers to purchase products only in the amounts they need. In addition, SEJ has developed chilled boxed lunches that have longer expiry dates than conventional products, without compromising taste or quality. This has been achieved by revising ingredients, manufacturing processes, and temperature control methods. SEJ is also working to reduce food waste by developing products with longer-lasting freshness in the categories of bread and sozai prepared dishes.
In other areas, Seven & i Food Systems has been implementing measures to reduce food leftovers at Denny’s restaurants, such as providing menus offering dishes with smaller servings that can be finished comfortably without leftovers, supplying take-home boxes for any leftovers, and holding a campaign in collaboration with municipalities to encourage people to enjoy eating everything on their plate.
At IY, a "biodegradable garbage processor" system that breaks down garbage using microorganisms was introduced in October of 2011 and has been installed in 24 stores as of the end of February 2017. Through the power of microorganisms, the devices break down into water and CO2 garbage that is ill‒suited to recycling (such as highly fibrous substances, etc.). This process results in reduced CO2 emissions compared to incineration processing, and it offers an effective reduction of waste volumes.
SEJ has been promoting "Eco Distribution*1" since 1994 as a system for appropriate processing and recycling of waste. Under this system, we work to recycle food products that have passed their sell-by dates into feed and fertilizer. The system is operating in 27 prefectures in Japan. In the fiscal year ended February 28, 2017, the combined recycling rate for products that had passed their sell-by dates and discarded food oil was 53.4%.
Certain 7-Eleven stores in Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture have established routes within their supply chains for recycling products with expired sell-by dates discarded from stores into recyclable resources. The expired products are collected from the stores and converted into fried meal, which is used to manufacture formulated feed*2. The formulated feed is fed to chickens at designated poultry farms and the eggs produced are used as a raw material in boxed lunches.
In August 2008, with the aim of enhancing the recycling rate and revitalizing local agriculture, IY established "Seven Farm Tomisato" as an agricultural production corporation in Tomisato City, Chiba Prefecture, thereby becoming the first player in the retail sector to engage in "recycling-oriented agriculture."
"Recycling-oriented agriculture" is a system for composting food residues (garbage) generated by IY stores and using it at Seven Farms. The produce that is grown at the farms is then harvested and sold at the stores from which the food residues were generated. In January 2017, the 12th agricultural production corporation Seven Farm in Japan, was established in Ota City, Gunma Prefecture.
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