When traveling through the Japanese countryside or even small neighborhoods, it's not uncommon to come across unmanned produce stands that operate on an honor system of sorts. Perhaps borrowing inspiration from such stands, Nestlé Japan has made Kit Kats and coffee and tea goods available from pick-up vending machines around the country by installing "Food Loss Reduction Boxes" in an effort to battle food waste.

The new unmanned stations are the result of a collaboration with Minatoku Corporation, a food loss solutions company, as a means of addressing the wasteful disposal of expiring, but perfectly edible goods released by Nestlé. Even with safe "best consumed by" dates, food products have delivery dates that indicate when they can be shipped to stores (wholesale and retail). Once the delivery date has passed, the number of distributors to whom the food can be shipped is limited, and the food may end up being discarded.

A total of five unmanned Food Loss Reduction Boxes will be installed in three prefectures, containing goods including Kit Kats, Nescafe Excella bottled coffee and instant coffee sticks, and instant Nescafe Uji matcha latte, hojicha latte, and milk tea.

Customers who come across the unstaffed stations can access the Minatoku website, select their location, and purchase their desired item. After that they will be provided with a one-time security code that they can input after scanning a QR code on the station, which will unlock their purchased item.

The Food Loss Reduction Boxes currently installed at Kiralys Hakodate (Hakodate City, Hokkaido), Shinjuku Post Office (Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo), Nescafe Harajuku (Shibuya Ward, Tokyo), JR Gate Tower (JR Nagoya Station) (Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture), and Chugoku Electric Power Company Headquarters (Hiroshima City, Hiroshima Prefecture).

By - grape Japan editorial staff.