Food Waste in Japan: Turning Food Scraps Into Fine Dining

By The byFood Team
Updated: March 11, 2023

On December 9, 2020, byFood, held a unique culinary event to spark a conversation about food waste in Japan.

Despite the Japanese concept of “mottainai,” which conveys a feeling of remorse due to waste, food loss in Japan is still a rampant issue with about 6.5 million tons of food being tossed out every year. This is about one bowl of food per person every day, according to a report by MAFF

Food Waste in Japan: Turning Food Scraps Into Fine Dining

Food scraps for byFood's sustainable dinner event laid out in a row -- pineapple rinds, potato and carrot peels, and other produce

To demonstrate how food scraps can be rescued and given a second life, byFood challenged chef Suzuki, the owner-chef of Yasaito, to give a live cooking show using ingredients that would otherwise be discarded.

Green onion & shrimp kakiage with grated daikon radish

The end result was an elegant and sustainable meal using produce that is deemed unsellable, such as tough daikon radish, carrot and potato skins, and pineapple rinds–provided by Sunrise Co., Ltd. and Kagome Co., Ltd.

photo of daikon radish scraps next to the boiled nimono dish

ByFood's Sustainable Dinner Menu - December 9, 2020

  • Starter: Green onion and tuna with vinegar and miso
  • Salad: Hot cabbage salad with pineapple and Japanese-style soy sauce dressing
  • Soup: Creamy potage made from the skins of potatoes & carrots
  • Tempura: Green onion & shrimp kakiage with grated daikon radish
  • Nimono: Boiled daikon radish and chicken
  • Hot pot: Chinese cabbage and pork
  • Rice: Takikomi gohan (mixed rice) with daikon, carrot, green onion, and dried tomato
  • Soup: Miso soup with carrot and cabbage
  • Dessert: Pineapple frozen yogurt
Food waste in Japan - Pineapple frozen yogurt made from pineapple rinds

Through this experience, byFood aims to educate and bring awareness to the issue of food waste in Japan and promote sustainable eating. As a CSV (Creating Shared Value) business, supporting the United Nation’s SDGs, particularly zero hunger, is part of the company’s mission. It is byFood’s hope that this can become a regular event, bookable on, as part of an ongoing conversation about sustainability.

Chef Suzuki with the byFood and CRUST team at the sustainable dinner event holding up food scraps

This sustainable fine dining experience was made possible thanks to ImpacTech and the Nippon Foundation Social Change Makers Program, and was organized in tandem with CRUST, a food tech company that upcycles leftover bread and produce to make beer and other beverages. 

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The byFood Team
Sharing our love of Japanese cuisine and culture, with the mission of spreading happiness through food.
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