7-Eleven Japan announces their efforts to dramatically reduce food waste at its stores. 

Onigiri–those sometimes triangular, sometimes circular rice balls that are ubiquitous at Japanese convenience stores. Inexpensive, perfectly portable, and easy to wolf down in a few moments, they’re the Japanese snack of choice for everyone from working executives to a family out on a picnic. Also, they’re decidedly NOT jelly donuts, like an early episode of the English Pokémon dub tried to convince us.

▼ The Squirtle Squad is here to fight improper food naming in imported anime.

A few days ago, Director Fumihiko Nagamatsu of Seven & i Holdings Co., Ltd., the parent organization of 7-Eleven Japan, unveiled upcoming plans in an interview with the Mainichi Shimbun to extend the expiration date of their onigiri by roughly twice the current length of time. 7-Eleven onigiri presently have a shelf life of approximately 18 hours, a time which would be extended to approximately 1.5-2 days under the new target with plans for implementation in March 2021.

Nagamatsu elaborated by stating that 7-Eleven locations in Japan sell an average of 200 onigiri per day. He predicts that this simple change would reduce the amount of wasted onigiri by 50 percent. As 7-Eleven does not currently use preservatives in its onigiri and has no plans to moving forward, the chain is currently considering different ways to achieve this goal. The most likely option appears to be increasing the nitrogen within the sealed packaging to preserve the freshness, but it is also investigating other methods due to the different packaging styles used for various types of onigiri.

▼ Another potential solution: Our hungry workers would volunteer to simply “dispose” of all expired onigiri at the end of 18 hours…

By the way, since unwrapping a sealed onigiri can sometimes be a bit tricky, be sure to read up on one expert’s recommendation for the most polite way to eat one before bringing it to the park.

Source: Mainichi Shimbun via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Pakutaso
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