Food accounts for about 60% of Seven & i Group’s sales, and the “GREEN CHALLENGE 2050” Environmental Declaration has established food loss and waste / organic waste recycling countermeasures as one of its themes and is promoting initiatives. The “GREEN CHALLENGE 2050” aims to raise the organic waste recycling rate to 70% by 2030 and 100% by 2050, and the amount of food loss and waste* will be reduced by 50% by 2030 and 75% by 2050 compared to 2013.
*Amount generated per one million yen in sales
* Covering six food-related operating companies: Seven-Eleven Japan, Ito-Yokado, York-Benimaru, York, SHELL GARDEN, and Seven & i Food Systems
Our priorities for reducing organic waste are to curtail the generation of waste, promote the reuse of waste, convert waste into feed and fertilizer, and recover heat. Seven & i Group implements initiatives in order of priority at each stage.
Amount of Food Waste Generation
Amount generated per million yen of sales (kg)*
* Six food-related operating companies: Seven-Eleven Japan, Ito-Yokado, York-Benimaru, York, SHELL GARDEN, and Seven & i Food Systems
Seven & i Group continues to implement initiatives to reduce food loss throughout its supply chain. As one example, we are relaxing product delivery deadlines at Seven-Eleven Japan, Ito-Yokado, York-Benimaru, and York. Until now, our business practice was to use the “1/3 rule,” which entailed delivering products to stores before a third of the period between the date of manufacture and the expiration date had passed. As an initiative for reducing food loss, we are revising certain categories of products to a “1/2 rule,” which relaxes delivery deadlines by allowing deliveries before half of the period between the date of manufacture and the expiration date has passed. Going forward, we will expand target categories to reduce the inventory burden of manufacturers and vendors and work to further reduce food loss.
Image showing relaxed delivery deadlines
Seven-Eleven Japan is promoting efforts to reduce food loss and waste throughout the supply chain such as those for the mitigation of food waste by extending expiration dates through improvement of hygiene management levels at factories that manufacture original daily products as well as reducing inventory disposal costs at distribution centers and by granting nanaco points for products whose sales deadlines are approaching. In July 2020, these efforts received praise and won the Excellence Award and Special Award in the “2020 Supply Chain Innovation Award” contest hosted by of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Each Seven & i Group company is implementing various innovations to reduce food waste in areas including sales methods and products. For example, Ito-Yokado and York (York Mart,York Foods, and York Price) have introduced food items sold loose and sold by small portions as well as cut vegetables to enable customers to purchase products only in the amounts they need. In addition, Denny's of Seven & i Food Systems provides menus offering dishes with smaller servings that can be finished comfortably without leftovers. It also provides take-out containers for customers to take the leftovers home, when they wish.
Additionally, York-Benimaru and York are converting fish ilium bones discarded by stores into feed. Moreover, 100% of waste oil, such as that generated from the frying oil used to cook delicatessen items at the stores of each Group company, is recycled. Going forward, Seven & i Group will continue to promote organic waste recycling.
In May 2020, Seven-Eleven Japan started an “ethical project” at stores nationwide with the aim of reducing food loss and waste. The initiative reduces the generation of food waste by giving 5% of the tax-excluded price for target products near their sales deadline as bonus Nanaco points, and it covers a total of seven categories such as rice balls, bread, delicatessen, and sweets.
Seven-Eleven Japan has made technological innovations at the manufacturing factories. Reviewing the manufacturing processes and temperature / hygiene management has made it possible to ensure safety and security as well as improve taste and quality, such as by not using preservatives, along with extending expiration dates (developing products with longer-lasting freshness). Starting with chilled boxed lunches in 2009, Seven-Eleven Japan has extended the freshness of products such as gratin and doria, pasta dishes, sandwiches, and delicatessen items. As of the end of April 2022, about 84% of our original daily products have a sales deadline that is over 24 hours away.
Ito-Yokado has been donating unexpired foods from some stores to food banks* since the fiscal year ending February 28, 2018, to a cumulative total of around 38.8 tons of donations (as of May 2022).
With regard to reuse, Seven-Eleven Japan has been donating inventories of processed foods to food banks when stores are closed or refurbished, and since the fiscal year ending February 28, 2019, it concluded regional comprehensive collaboration agreements with municipalities and began making donations to social welfare organizations. As of the end of February 2022, it has concluded regional comprehensive collaboration agreements with 223 municipalities.
* Organizations engaged in the distribution, to those in need of support, of foods which, despite no quality concerns, could not be put to market or are surplus to households.
Seven-Eleven Japan has been promoting “Eco Distribution*” since 1994 as a system for appropriate processing and recycling of organic waste. As part of this system, we are endeavoring to recycle products that have passed their sales deadlines into feed or compost, and in the fiscal year ending February 28, 2022, the combined recycling rate for products that had passed their sales deadline and discarded food oil was 50.3%.
* Eco Distribution: Seven-Eleven’s original waste recycling system
A recommended waste disposal provider for franchisees in each region collects all of the waste from Seven-Eleven stores for appropriate processing and recycling.
In August 2008, with the aim of enhancing recycling rates and revitalizing local agriculture, Ito-Yokado 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 “Circular economy in agriculture.” “Circular economy in agriculture” is an initiative for composting food residues (garbage) generated by Ito-Yokado stores and using it as fertilizer 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. As of the end of February 2022, Seven Farm had expanded to 12 sites nationwide, Seven Farm is actively working to acquire certification under Japan Good Agricultural Practice (JGAP), an agricultural production process management technique, and 11 Seven Farm locations (as of the end of February 2022) have acquired JGAP certification.
Seven Farms’ Circular Economy Model
Ito-Yokado introduced a “biodegradable garbage processor” system that breaks down organic waste using microorganisms in October of 2011 and has installed on the sites of 20 stores as of the end of February 2022. 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.
Seven-Eleven Japan also started operations tests of biodegradable garbage processors in 2013. The on-site organic waste treatment eliminates the need for delivery to local municipal treatment centers and contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions generated during delivery and incineration. As of the end of February 2022, it had introduced and begun operating these at a total of 17 stores in Tokyo and Nagano Prefecture on a trial basis.
Biodegradabe garbage processors (Ito-Yokado)
Biodegradable garbage processors (Seven-Eleven Japan)
In light of the fact that approximately half of food waste is generated by homes, the Seven & i Group is conducting educational activities to reduce food waste at home. We conducted a food drive in which customers could bring their extra food to participating Ito-Yokado, York, and Sogo and Seibu stores and have it be donated to food banks.
From June 2020, Ito-Yokado successively expanded the number of stores with a permanent food drive collection box to 44 (as of the end of February 2022). The foods collected at each store are centralized at distribution centers with the cooperation of contracted logistics companies, and then delivered to food canteens for children and persons in need of support through food banks. In addition, we implemented a food drive to raise employee awareness at venues including the Head Office of each Seven & i Group company and selected district offices of Seven Eleven Japan.
At Seven & i Food Systems, companies in the restaurant business have the responsibility to promote efforts that encourage customers to finish their food. At the end of February 2022, 38 local municipals nationwide have registered as stores that promote food waste reduction, such as stores that encourage customers to finish their meals. Since October 2019, Denny's menu has made it clear that there is a small-serving option for rice that is easy to finish, and it has displayed the “Loss Non” symbol used by the national movement to promote food loss and waste reduction.
For introducing its mottECO program to reduce food waste, Seven & i Food Systems has been selected by the Ministry of the Environment as a “FY2021 Model Business for Reduction of Food Waste and Promotion of Recycling by Local Governments and Businesses.” Under this program, restaurant customers unable to finish their food can request 100% plant-derived containers in which to take home the leftover portion. By having customers assume the responsibility for taking home these leftovers on their own, this campaign is raising awareness of reducing food waste and promoting a “culture of taking home leftovers as one’s own responsibility.”