Winnow, a London-based start-up, has launched a new AI-enabled product, Winnow Vision, to revolutionise food waste management in the UAE for the benefit of both businesses and consumers.
The launch, which is in collaboration with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) and in partnership with Emaar Hospitality Group, comes as food waste in the UAE is estimated to cost the local economy AED13 billion annually.
It follows a proof of concept phase that was launched in March 2018, since when the start-up tested its product across 12 Emaar properties.
One of them, the Armani Hotel Dubai, is said to have saved a total of AED148,000 in 2018, while the entire group is reported to have saved AED1.3 million for the same time period, owing to the new technology.
Using a camera, a set of smart scales and the same type of machine learning technology found in autonomous vehicles, Winnow Vision learns to recognise different foods being thrown in the bin and calculates the financial and environment cost of this discarded food to commercial kitchens.
Businesses and chefs can then adjust their food purchasing decisions accordingly, reducing their spending and tackling a fundamental problem of food waste: over-production.
During the training and automation phases, the Winnow Vision system takes human input, providing a shortlist of possible menu items for kitchen staff to select and to quickly improve its predictions based on feedback.
Over time, the system continues to improve and will automatically recognise food with no human interaction.
Marc Zornes, CEO of Winnow, said: “With kitchens around the world struggling, food waste is not just an issue in the UAE. Without visibility into what is being wasted, we know that up to 20 percent of all food purchased ends up in the bin. 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.”
Chris Newman, COO of Emaar Hospitality Group, added: “Reducing food waste is one of the key tactical steps we have taken in ensuring that our kitchens operate to the highest level of efficiency... As a pioneer in introducing Winnow Vision, we will continue to explore innovative options to reduce food waste by leveraging the most-modern technologies in the field.”
Earlier this year, the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment partnered with Winnow in a pledge to save three million meals yearly by 2020. The long-term goal is to cut food waste by a total of 50 percent by 2030.
Installed in more than 1,000 kitchens around the world and hundreds more to follow, Winnow said it is saving over 23 million meals a year from the bin, equal to more than $33 million in food cost savings for businesses.
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