In the case of processed food, we prefer to have at least one month left before expiration in order for us to safely deliver the donation well ahead of its expiration. We do not deliver expired food and we request agencies to dispose of any donations that have expired after being delivered.
On the one there is surplus food, and on the other hand there are those in need. Food banks are a bridge between the two. We connect “Donors” who have surplus food and “beneficiaries” who are in need of food support.
Food banking is advantageous not only for donors and beneficiaries, but also for government agencies.
Welfare agencies and NPOs are able to reduce food expenses and direct funds toward their own welfare activities. At one welfare agency the average cost per meal was 173.2 yen. After receiving donated food the average cost was reduced to 105.8 yen, a savings of approximately 40%.
Most welfare agencies purchase food based on cost rather than quality and nutritional content. As a result, agencies are very happy to receive donated premium ice cream, sweets or quality seasonings that they could not normally afford to purchase.
Prior to receiving food donations, staff at one orphanage noticed sugar disappearing from the kitchen. Due to tight funding the facility was unable to provide sweets or snacks for their children, and so some of the children were stealing and eating the sugar used for cooking. With the assistance of the food bank, the facility is now able to provide the children with nutritious food as well as occasional sweets and snacks.
By donating rather than dumping, companies can reduce their disposal costs. The average disposal cost is about 100 per kilogram. It is estimated that in 2012 donating companies collectively saved approximately 300 million by donating to food banks.
Companies can also help preserve the environment and meet environmental quotas by cutting out the co2 emissions caused by disposing of food waste.
No one likes to destroy food, least of all those who manufacture or sell it. By donating rather than destroying surplus food, companies can boost morale by assuring employees that someone is benefitting from their hard work.
Donating is one form of CSR. It has a valuable impact on the community. Moreover, it has a financial impact without being a direct financial donation. Since our incorporation in 2002, over \4.7 billion worth of donated food has been delivered to the community (December 2012).
Welfare agencies are consumers who purchase the bulk of their food. Delivering donations is another method of distributing free samples. Products that prove popular will most likely be purchased in the future. At the very least, the recipient agency develops a favorable image of the donating company.
Local governments have targets for organic waste reduction in their communities. Donating is one means to reach this goal. By working with their local food bank, local governments can reduce food waste and its negative impact on the environment.
According to a 2010 Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare study, the relative poverty rate* in Japan is 16%. This is the highest recorded poverty rate since surveys were commenced in 1986.
55% of single-mother households and 51% of single elderly women live below the poverty line.
By ensuring that citizens have adequate access to food, local governments can improve the lives and health of their citizens. Using donated food to support welfare recipients and aid those in need can help suppliment welfare budgets and enrich the nation as a whole.
*The relative poverty rate is the ratio of households that fall below the poverty line (half the average amount of disposable income). The 2010 poverty line was 1.12 million yen.
In addition to those in need, it is important for local communities to support the elderly. By encouraging citizens to volunteer, and by making use of food banks to support both the elderly and those in need, local governments can work with NPOs, faith-based groups and welfare agencies to create a “food safety net” for their community.