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The intelligent bin cutting down on food waste

Date: 09-Apr-19
Author: Liam Taylor

Artificial intelligence is proving to be a great tool in the fight against food waste. Image: Dan Gold/Unsplash © Dan Gold/Unsplash

Artificial intelligence is proving to be a great tool in the fight against food waste. Image: Dan Gold/Unsplash

A UK-based company is rolling out innovative technology to help solve one of the hospitality industry’s biggest issues: food waste. Winnow Solutions has created an ‘intelligent bin’ that employs artificial intelligence to track and analyse the food waste produced by kitchens and the chefs that work in them.

The Winnow intelligent bin uses an embedded camera and scales to identify the food being thrown out and track the quantity of each food type. It then uses artificial intelligence, with assistance from kitchen staff during initial training, to calculate the cost of that food waste to the business.

Through this analysis clients are provided intuitive data on all the key metrics required in order to reduce their food waste. From this analysis they can then put measures in place, such as reducing quantities of food cooked or purchased, to reduce the quantity of waste being produced. 

The bin, called Winnow Vision, has already been trialled in a number of commercial kitchens across the UK, including Ikea’s 23 restaurants in the country, with financial savings of 2-8% being achieved. Hege Saebjornsen, country sustainability manager at Ikea UK, said the technology had helped Ikea achieve a 32% reduction in food waste across their UK kitchens.

“Of course we are reducing our carbon footprint through our food waste but also it’s beneficial to the cost of our operations in our kitchens,” Saebjornsen told the BBC.

Food waste is a huge environmental concern, with roughly one third of the food produced for human consumption every year ending up as waste. Australia does a bit better than the global average at one-fifth of all food purchased being wasted, but this number remains far too high.

Marc Zornes, chief executive of Winnow, said in a press release that food waste is a global issue that requires substantial data in order for it to be addressed. 

“By understanding and reporting food waste’s very real costs – both to the bottom line and the environment – Winnow Vision empowers chefs to take action.”


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Liam                                              Taylor
Author: Liam Taylor

Liam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.

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