Nutritional and environmental considerations of food stockpiles in Japan and USA: Reducing food waste by efficient reuse through the food banks

M. Sato, M. Nakano, K. Gatto, S. Wunderlich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The food stockpiles of local self-governing bodies comprise the first urgent response to a disaster, but stockpiled food has a best-before date and will be wasted if not used. Therefore, it is necessary to devise a method for using (reusing) stockpiles efficiently. This study proposes cooperation between local self-governing bodies, food banks, and special food supermarkets in Japan and USA to improve the food quality and nutritional value of stockpiles and reduce food waste. Japan's food stockpile is estimated to be 40, 015.5 tons, and though there is no exact information regarding America's stockpiles, there are estimated approximately 200 active food banks and 63, 000 smaller food pantries. Analysis of Japan's stockpiled food revealed a high-energy ratio of lipids and carbohydrates along with insufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals. However, in foods supermarkets, huge amounts of vegetables and fruits are now being discarded which could provide the deficient nutrients. Through cooperation of food supermarkets and food banks, it may be possible to promote the efficient reuse of the stockpiles of local self-governing bodies and improve the nutritional value of stockpiles. During the research period, Japan had 40 food banks and reutilized 1, 512 tons of food waste from these food banks each year, which is only 0.1% of the food waste discarded from the entire food industry in Japan. Subsidies provided in 2010 by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries stimulated the activity of food banks, which work under the viewpoint of food waste reduction. The researchers investigated the profile of America's food banks compared to the food bank activity in Japan to stimulate food bank activity in both countries while considering the viewpoints of waste management, environmental impact and economics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)980-988
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Food bank
  • Food stockpiles
  • Food waste
  • Reuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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