Tokyo: For Japanese shoppers, the grocery store is as familiar as the movie theater.
But even in the country’s capital, many locals have come to rely on convenience stores, such as Shoppers Drug Mart, to stock up on essentials.
And some people have been buying groceries online, from grocery-delivery services like Amazon, rather than taking delivery at a grocery store.
“I don’t see many options at my local grocery store,” said Masayuki Matsumoto, who owns Shoppers Drugs Mart, located in a busy shopping area in Tokyo’s Ginza neighborhood.
“I’d rather go to a convenience store or a convenience service store.”
The convenience stores that have popped up in recent years have been built on a foundation of a shopper’s expectations.
Many Japanese are used to using a smartphone to shop online, and many have taken to the practice of buying things at the same time as their groceries, which can often be a little confusing.
For example, while ordering at Shoppers drug store, Matsumototo pointed to a box of breads, one of which was covered in a white paper covering that said: “This is my favorite bread.”
But it wasn’t the bread that caught Matsumottos attention, he said.
Instead, the bread came with a piece of paper taped to the package that said, “This bread is for the new kid in the neighborhood.”
In Japan, convenience stores are not a new concept.
They’ve been around for decades, but their popularity has grown in recent decades as a way to expand the number of choices that Japanese consumers have at their disposal.
The number of convenience stores has more than doubled over the past 10 years to about 2,000, according to a survey by the Association of Japanese Consumer Services (ASHIC), which tracks and surveys consumers’ shopping habits.
They are mostly located in major metropolitan areas like Tokyo and Osaka, where there are roughly one million convenience stores.
“There’s no doubt that convenience stores have become increasingly popular over the years,” said Hiroaki Fujita, a professor at Tohoku University who studies the evolution of convenience store design.
But he said that the trend isn’t limited to Japan.
“In Europe, there are also convenience stores popping up everywhere.
So I don’t think convenience stores will disappear in the U.S.,” Fujita said.
“It’s not going to disappear anytime soon.
The convenience stores can be an attractive option for consumers.”
While convenience stores may seem like a way for people to get to the store before their kids get home from school, convenience can also have a downside.
There is a large amount of food waste at convenience stores in Japan, and the waste can contain potentially harmful bacteria, according the AASHIC.
For example, the waste in a Shoppers pharmacy can contain pathogens like E. coli and salmonella.
Some of the bacteria that can cause these infections can cause diarrhea and vomiting, while others can cause respiratory issues and even death.
The AASHIC said that while some of the products are packaged in the safest way possible, some may still be contaminated with potentially harmful pathogens.
It said that if a consumer is sickened by an outbreak, the retailer should be held responsible for the food waste.
A supermarket may be a convenient outlet for many, but it’s not a safe place for everyone.
“It’s more important for customers to make sure they have all their personal hygiene requirements met,” Fujita added.
“But in terms of food safety, convenience is a better option.”
The convenience store model is popular in many parts of the world, but not everywhere.
In the U, food waste accounts for around 5 percent of total food waste in Japan according to data from the Japan Consumer Protection Agency.
Some Japanese grocery chains, such to Shoppers, are also known for offering a wide variety of items that are cheaper and less environmentally friendly than those at their competitors.
Some Japanese grocery store chains, including Shoppers and Aya, have been working to change that, though.
For instance, Aya has revamped its shopping experience by focusing on healthy ingredients and offering customers the option to shop with their phones instead of their faces.
In addition, the company is expanding its menu to include healthier snacks.