How technology can reduce food waste.
There is a reason why food waste is such a global concern. It is where the environment, the hunger crisis and business profitability all conjoin to cause serious issues for our people and our planet. Understanding how we can make a difference is a vital factor in moving forward.
From a restaurant owner’s perspective, it can mean thousands of dollars worth of wasted food. In this article we look at how businesses are tackling waste using smart solutions and clever technology.
Before we delve into the solutions, let’s just remember that according to the UNEP Food Waste Index, an estimated 8–10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are associated with unconsumed food. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has stated publicly that it aims to halve global food waste by 2030.
Whilst we know that food can be lost early in the supply chain, during production and processing, what’s perhaps more concerning is that perfectly good food is being thrown away from restaurants, supermarkets and food service businesses.
Pizza Hut and the reduction of food waste
According to data from WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Program) the UK arm of Pizza Hut Restaurants has been leading the charge on food waste reduction. Through measurement and process improvement it has seen food waste decrease by 50%. The company is now focusing its efforts on the challenge of consumer plate waste reduction.
What exactly does measurement and process improvement mean?
Ultimately it’s about ensuring your procedures are clearly documented, so people don’t prepare food orders incorrectly or in an unsafe manner. Using an app to upload all your Standard Operating Procedures SOPs will help make this a reality. Phenium’s clever system allows you to upload multiple checklists and procedures so you know that everything is being completed as it should. The app will send you an alert if anything goes wrong.
Reducing unconsumed food
Another way of managing the food waste in your business is to understand exactly what is being thrown away so you can take action.
US-based app Winnow uses technology to help commercial kitchens understand how food is being wasted. By using smart sensors attached to waste bins, the app proposes strategies to prevent waste while saving money. It has proven to cut food purchasing costs by up to 8%.
A spokesperson for the company said: “Winnow develops Artificial Intelligence tools to help chefs in large businesses like hotels, contracting caterers, casinos and cruise ships to run more profitable and sustainable kitchens by cutting food waste in half.”
“Our analytics platform and reporting suite helps teams pinpoint waste quickly, allowing enterprises to drive significant waste reductions at scale. Our hardware options range from simple digital measurement tools to our AI-enabled Winnow Vision which ‘learns to see’ food being thrown in the bin.”