While Italy and Europe debate the regulations to eliminate packaging in the fresh produce sector, Alessandro Giunchi, the administrator of the Cesena wholesale market who visited Tokyo with a delegation of the Market network as part of a trip organized by the Emilia Romagna region, reports that most of the fruits and vegetables in Japan are sold packaged.

Alessandro Giunchi

"We visited a logistics sorting center and what I've seen is astounding. Everything is packaged and the produce arrives in large boxes. One or two of them are opened for each batch to show the produce and then the auction starts. Buyers the get what they buy."

The logistics center (photo by AG)

Giunchi noticed how fruits and vegetables sell by piece, so almost everything is packaged. Of course there is no waste lying around, as the civic sense of the Japanese means every packet is then disposed of and recycled.

"Presentation is what counts for the Japanese, that is why everything looks perfect. They purchase produce by piece: a single apple costs more than a kg of apples in Italy."

Packaged vegetables sold by piece

Potatoes and onions are also mostly packaged in bags with 4-5 pieces. "Things are completely different over there."