Proving zero-waste groceries can be affordable


If you’ve ever visited a grocery store in Japan, you will have seen it — a single apple in a styrofoam tray, wrapped in layers of plastic wrap, then placed into a tiny plastic bag by the cashier only to end up in a larger regibukuro (plastic bag). Many foreigners are shocked by the glaring wastefulness of this grocery store phenomenon but are largely unaware of where it all stems from, or how they can do something about it. Oota Market, Japan’s largest fruit and vegetable marketplace, demands that produce distributed to wholesalers be packaged. This largely avoidable waste issue continues due to outdated industry practices. Despite Japan’s mottainai culture, many companies and consumers continue to take a shouganai approach to waste reduction.

Market lagoice 14

Taking matters into their own hands, husband and wife Toyo and Takane Kageyama opened the sustainable greengrocer MARKET LAGOICE in Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku, earlier this year. Based on the core concept of zero waste, the couple is changing the system from the inside, purchasing from like-minded wholesalers within the Oota market who are glad to provide zero-packing produce. The couple can then supply their customers with sustainable produce by weight or by item.

Market lagoice 23

In addition to creating an environmentally sustainable supply chain, the Kageyamas intend to build an environmentally conscious community around their store, acting as a hub for information and discussion around waste reduction and sustainability. “We hope that by becoming part of our customers’ daily lives, we can help more people understand that there are sustainable alternatives to environmental issues,” they tell Metropolis.

Market lagoice 29

MARKET LAGOICE, a combination of the Swedish word “lagom” and “choice,” opened in March 2022. The team behind the store has already started to see encouraging responses from the local community, such as customers bringing reusable juice or coffee containers and other sustainable practices. While systemic change is needed at government and corporate levels, small businesses like MARKET LAGOICE are leading an example for their local communities.

Google Profile