CoCooking Co., Ltd., which operates the popular service TABETE allowing customers to "rescue" leftover or unused food from participating shops and restaurants, is collaborating with Higashimatsuyama City (Saitama Prefecture), Tobu Railway Co., Ltd., JA (Japan Agricultural Cooperatives) Saitama Chuo branch, and Daito Bunka University on a new project tying together industry, government, and academia. The purpose of the project, called "TABETE Rescue Chokubaijo," is to extend TABETE's reach to chokubaijo 直売所, or "direct retail" produce stands, thereby curbing food waste.

In Japan, chokubaijo can come in many varieties. At the smallest scale, these can be unstaffed stations by the roadside in rural areas. They're usually just a box or a collection of crates, but as we introduced recently on grape Japan, they can also be more elegantly designed structures. However, the most common chokubaijo are the ones operated by JA, which has outlets all over Japan.

Outline of "TABETE Rescue Chokubaijo"

TABETE will buy up unsold agricultural products from chokubauijo in Higashimatsuyama City in Saitama Prefecture and then transport them to Ikebukuro Station on the Tobu Tojo Line to sell them to their customers in the city center at special prices, hopefully resulting in a reduction in food waste.


Thanks to an investment by the "Higashimatsuyama Entrepreneur Support Investment Limited Partnership," CoCooking Co., Ltd. moved its head office to Higashimatsuyama City, Saitama Prefecture, in July 2020, where it has been contributing to the reduction of food waste in the region's foodservice and restaurant industries.

Higashimatsuyama City is famous for its delicious agricultural products such as pears and chestnuts. It also has one of the highest revenue in the prefecture from chokubaijo. It is customary for farmers to take back unsold produce after the market closes, and even if it still has commercial value, most of it is discarded. Therefore, in order to reduce food waste, CoCooking Co., Ltd. brought together the municipal government, the Tobu Railway Company, JA Saitama Chuo, and Daito Bunka University in a project to implement the following objectives:


  • Reduce food waste by reselling unsold agricultural products left over after the chokubaijo counter closes.
  • Improve the profitability of farmers who sell their produce at chokubaijo
  • Examine ways to utilize rail transport services beyond passenger transport, while also revitalizing the Tobu Railway line
  • Provide opportunities for students to participate in projects related to Sustainable Development Goals and social issues and create educational opportunities
  • Transmit information from all five entities involved in the project

The "TABETE Rescue Chokubaijo" service will begin operations on August 2nd, 2021, the same day that the five parties involved officially conclude their agreement in a ceremony to be held at the JA Saitama Chuo office.

Sustainable Development Goals

Through this project CoCooking Co., Ltd. addresses two of the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations in 2015. By reducing food waste, it addresses Goal 12, Responsible Production and Consumption, and by working with Daito Bunka University to provide learning opportunities to a new generation, it addresses Goal 4, Quality Education.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.