Fox Business Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on FoxBusiness.com. TOKYO - Japanese companies are ramping up the use of artificial intelligence and other advanced technology to reduce waste and cut costs in the pandemic, and looking to score some sustainability points along the way. Disposing of Japan's more than 6 million tonnes in food waste costs the world's No.3 economy some 2 trillion yen ($19 billion) a year, government data shows. With the highest food waste per capita in Asia, the Japanese government has enacted a new law to halve such costs from 2000 levels by 2030, pushing companies to find solutions.
Sustainability is at the forefront of all aspects of the supply chain in retail. From product development and production to shipping and returns, every aspect of the retail industry is working to become more sustainable. Increasing these efforts is challenging, as many retailers frequently introduce new products to meet the demands of the constantly evolving consumer. On average, up to 20% of clothing goes unsold and is often incinerated. Additionally, returned goods create more than 5 billion pounds of waste in U.S. landfills each year.
Convenience store operator Lawson Inc. will launch a recycling system to produce fertilizer from leftover food and sell produce grown with it at its stores in central Japan. Lawson, which will introduce the system in the current business year through next March, already has a similar recycling program in western Japan and plans to eventually roll it out in other areas of the country.
Seven-Eleven Japan Co. and Lawson Inc. said Friday they will start discounting rice balls and lunch boxes that are close to their expiration date in order to reduce food waste, a large issue in the country due to the 6 million tons of edible food discarded annually. The convenience store operators will offer customers enrolled in the chains' point programs shopping credits worth 5 percent of the value of purchases as an incentive for buying such products. They have been selling products at list price and had all but banned franchise store owners from offering discounts. The move by the companies to embrace discounts is also expected to benefit outlets struggling with rising payroll costs at a time of severe labor shortages, which is occurring against the backdrop of a rapidly graying population. At 7-Eleven stores, edible foods that have expired would normally go to waste, with 85 percent of the cost for disposal paid by the store operators, the Nikkei business daily said.
The key to success for any CPG company is its ability to predict demand and agility in response to changes in consumer demand. In a situation where a CPG company is left with no choice but to find options to please its customers to keep the business running, technology and data can be a savior. With technology expansion, the CPG industry stands a big chance at success. CPG companies have many digital technologies and predictive analytics tools at their disposal. The digitization of the entire manufacturing and supply value chain is gradually becoming a reality.