Elimination and Effective Utilization of Food Loss
Policy for Elimination and Effective Utilization of Food Loss
The effective and waste-free utilization of limited food resources is a key responsibility of a food manufacturer. Therefore, it is essential to improve supply chains in order to balance sustainable food production with the well-being of many.
The Kewpie Group has identified the reduction and effective utilization of food waste as one of the material issues of its "effective use and recycling of resources" sustainability initiative and has committed to taking strides to focus on reducing food waste, effectively utilizing unused vegetable portions, and reducing product waste.
Response to Food Loss Reduction
The utilization of limited food resources is a key responsibility for a food manufacturer. At the Kewpie Group, we have reduced food loss, and we have worked on the effective utilization of resources.
In recent years, food loss reduction has gained further importance, and climate change directly elicits negative impacts on the yield and quality of agricultural products that we use for raw materials, for instance. Moreover, we are committed to meet expectations from our stakeholders, particularly customers, who are increasingly concerned with food loss reduction.
Therefore, at Kewpie Group, we challenge ourselves to understand food loss at each stage of the supply chain (refer to the diagram). Through partnerships within the Kewpie Group, and by working together with stakeholders, we are committed to develop initiatives for the effective utilization of resources at each stage of the supply chain and continue to achieve food loss reduction.
The food loss that occurs at each stage of the supply chain
Reduction in Product Waste
The main causes of product waste are the gap between production based on demand forecasts and actual sales and returns due to unsold products at the distribution stage. With the cooperation of each company and department, we are working to solve these issues by actively donating to food banks.
A Working Group with the Objective of Reduction in Food Loss that Integrates Production, Sales, and Distribution
Since 2015, related departments hold a working group every month. At this working group, we focus on "product inventory" and discuss various issues and solutions surrounding production to distribution. Thanks to such monthly engagement, we have seen a consistent rise in the awareness of food loss within the company.
Efforts to Reduce Product Returns in Collaboration with Business Partners
We work with distributors and wholesalers in the Kanto area to reduce the amount of waste due to products not being sold. By reviewing the product sales trends at each store and optimizing product delivery, we have achieved zero returns.
We will continue to promote internal and external collaboration to reduce product waste throughout the supply chain.
Extension of Shelf Life and Switching to Year and Month Indication of Shelf Life
The Kewpie Group will work to reduce food loss by extending shelf life through improvements in manufacturing methods and containers and packaging, and by switching to "year and month" labeling for expiration dates.
Extension of Shelf Life of Mayonnaise
If mayonnaise is kept for a long time, the quality can deteriorate due to the effects of oxygen and other causes.
Ever since Kewpie Mayonnaise was first launched, we have pursued a range of innovations in manufacturing methods and containers and packaging to increase the shelf life of the product. These innovations include the use of multi-layered containers that keep oxygen out, the introduction of the "delicious taste long-run manufacturing method," which eliminates to the greatest extent possible the oxygen dissolved in the vegetable oil, and reducing oxygen levels during manufacturing processes. We have also succeeding in improving the quality standard of Kewpie Half by changing the product formula.
With these innovations, we have been able to extend the shelf life of Kewpie Mayonnaise (50 g–450 g) and Kewpie Half from the previous 10 months to 12 months*.
*Started in January 2016
Extension of Shelf Life of Packaged Salads
Salad Club, which manufactures and distributes packaged salads, in addition to the application of Kewpie's patented "Vegetable-friendly manufacturing method" (Japanese Patent No. 4994524), this was made ongoing efforts in its cold chain (low-temperature control), the adoption of functional packaging film, and other innovations. As a result, we were able to extend the expiration date for shredded cabbage by a day*, to a total of five days including the day of processing. (Does not include Okinawa Prefecture)
*Started in April 2019
Shelf Life Extension and Start of "month, year" Expiration Date Labeling for Nursing Care Foods and Ingredients Pouches
We extended the shelf life of 47 nursing care food products in the Yasashii Kondate series (with 18-month or 12-month expiry periods*1) in September 2018, and for some of the products*2 in the Salad Club, Inc. Ingredients Pouch series in March 2019.
In addition to extending the shelf lives of these two series, we changed the expiration labels to show "month, year" instead of "day, month, year." Extending the shelf lives and switching to a "month, year" expiration label will reduce returned products and product waste.
*1Started in September 2018
*2Started in March 2019
Recipes to Reduce Food Waste
We are eager to help our customers reduce food waste through introducing practical approaches.
One of our suggestions is to use overlooked parts of vegetables, such as outer leaves and stems, for our various recipes and tips.
In fact, those underrated parts of vegetables tend to serve key functions in plant growths and therefore carry unique nutrients and benefits of their own.
On the other hand, since FY2019, we have collaborated with Tokyo Kasei University, who made a significant contribution to "Totteoki Recipes" available at our website, to further promote the importance of food and reduction of its loss.
Our goal is to promote lifestyles that use ingredients more effectively. Please keep your eye on various vegetables and recipes that we introduce to you.
Promoting Effective Utilization
The Kewpie Group is committed to the effective use of food resources through various initiatives.
Recycling of Vegetables
The Kewpie Group is engaged in finding ways to make effective use of the unused parts of vegetables used in the processing of salads and delicatessen foods. These unused portions include the core, calyx, outer leaves, and peel.
In FY2017, the cut vegetables production plant, Green Message, had success in converting leafy vegetables, such as cabbage and lettuce, into stock feed, something that had previously been considered difficult to do on a commercial scale. In a joint research project* between Kewpie Corporation and Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, it was reported that dairy cattle that were fed this feed produced greater yields of milk.
Salad Club Co., Ltd. takes the unused parts of vegetables such as outer leaves and cores generated when producing packaged salads at its seven directly operated plants and turns them into feed and compost to be utilized by contracted farms and other customers.
In addition, the core of cabbage, which is usually disposed of, is used to make cabbage rice, which also leads to "zero vegetable waste".
*Presented at the 124th Meeting of the Japanese Society of Animal Science (March 2018).
- Prime Minister's Prize in the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (3Rs) Promotion Merit Awards 2018
- Award from the Director of Food Industry Affairs Bureau at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Sixth Food Industry Mottainai (Reducing Wastefulness) Awards
Effective use of unused parts of vegetables (e.g. cabbage)
100% Effective Use of Eggs
The Kewpie Group products a variety of processed egg products besides mayonnaise. 10% of the eggs produced in Japan are used by the Kewpie Group.
Kewpie Mayonnaise is made with the egg yolks, and the whites are used as food ingredients in processed seafood paste products such as kamaboko, and confectionery products such as cakes.
The approximately 28,000 tonnes of eggshells generated annually are also put to effective use in soil improvement agents, an additive for calcium-enriched foods, and other products, with 100% of eggshells being recycled. We are also working on advanced uses for eggshell membranes, such as in cosmetic products.
- Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries' Prize in the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (3Rs) Promotion Merit Awards 2019
- Award from the Director of Food Industry Affairs Bureau at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Seventh Food Industry Mottainai (Reducing Wastefulness) Awards
Effective use of eggs
Egg Shells Fortify Rice and Strengthen Human Bones
The Kewpie Group is conducting a joint research on the value of egg shells as fertilizers with Professor Yoshimasa Tsujii and Associate Professor Taku Kato from the Faculty of Applied Biosciences at the Tokyo University of Agriculture. So far, we have been able to determine that adding egg shell fertilizers to rice paddies reduces the effects of unseasonal weather, such as extreme heat, on the rice. This improves harvest yield and enhances rice quality. Since rice makes up most of Japan's crop acreage*, we are hopeful that egg shells can be effectively utilized in the future, not only by the Kewpie Group but also across the whole country.
Furthermore, a separate joint study conducted with the National Institute of Nutrition in Hanoi, Vietnam revealed that calcium from egg shells (biomaterial consisting mainly of calcium carbonate from egg shells finely ground for eating purposes) improves bone density in humans. This shows that egg shells can contribute to resolving the global issue of osteoporosis (bone weakness) that is emerging as the population ages. In Vietnam, we are currently selling a nutritional supplement product that contains egg shell calcium while also working to raise awareness and propose the solution to schools and medical facilities. In this way, we are striving to improve children's physical build and resolve the issue of osteoporosis among the elderly.
*Based on the 2018 statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on the aggregated planted (growing) area of agricultural crops and utilization rate of cultivated land
Our Challenge Going Forward is to Uncover the Full Potential of Egg Shells.
We believe calcium, which is the main component of egg shells, not only strengthens each of the cells in a plant but also facilitates various bioactivities within the cells. Meanwhile, global climate change is triggering extreme heat to such extents that even humans are having a hard time coping. This heat is one of the causes behind reduced rice harvest. We believe the calcium from egg shells can prevent heat exhaustion in the rice and stabilize harvests. Our challenge going forward is to uncover the mechanism behind this.
Associate Professor Taku Kato
Laboratory of Soil Fertility and Fertilizers, Department of Agricultural Chemistry, Faculty of Applied Biosciences, Tokyo University of Agriculture
Function of Eggshell Membranes
Using methods developed by Kewpie, we successfully separated eggshell membranes from egg shells. We discovered that water soluble eggshell membranes can increase type III collagen, which makes skin more smooth and supple. As such, we have been utilizing it as a raw ingredient for cosmetics since 1991.
Calcium Fertilizer Born from Egg Shells and Vinegar
Kewpie Jyozo Co., Ltd. developed and distributes a calcium fertilizer called "Yokatsusu," which is made by dissolving egg shells in vinegar.
Regularly spraying the fertilizer on the leaves of vegetables, fruits and flowers prevents calcium deficiency and allows the plants to grow healthily.
Since the product is derived from food products, it is both human and environmentally friendly and can be used without concern.
History of Utilizing Egg Shells
- 1956: Began sun-drying egg shells and selling them to farms as soil conditioner
- 1969: Installed equipment for crushing and drying egg shells (former Sengawa Factory)
- 1981: Began selling egg shells as a source of calcium for food products (achieved by developing membrane-removal technology)
- 1991: Processed eggshell membranes and began selling them as a raw ingredient for cosmetics
- 2007: Began selling egg shells as a raw material for construction materials and regular commodities (wallpaper, tires, etc.)
- 2012: Began research on rice grown using egg shell fertilizers
- 2017: Began selling Egg Shell Calcium Sauce as a nutritional supplement product in Vietnam
- 2019: Our egg shell initiatives won the "3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) Promotion Merit Awards" for the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Award
- 2020: Our egg shell initiatives won the "Food Industry Mottainai (Reducing Wastefulness) Awards" for the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries' Food Industry Affairs Bureau's Top Award
- 2021: The video "Effective Use of Eggs" won the "Green Food System Promotion Award" at the Sustainer Award 2021.