Food waste specialist Winnow has launched a new artificial intelligence (AI) enabled waste management system that will recognise food types and monitor exactly how much of each item is being discarded.
Winnow Vision utilises smart scales and a camera alongside the same AI technology that is used in autonomous vehicles. The technology will see the system learn to recognise the different food stuffs being thrown into the bin, without input by staff, and automatically calculate the financial and environmental cost of the waste.
This information is shown on a tablet as soon as the item is discarded, with all data available via a dashboard for further analysis.
Marc Zornes, CEO of Winnow, told The Caterer: "Winnow Vision is something we have been developing for two years and it's now live in more than 75 kitchens.
"Food waste is now more than ever a priority in hospitality and what we at Winnow want to do is make the process of reducing food waste as easy as child's play.
"A third of all food is wasted. It's an economic, environmental and moral imperative that we reduce waste and know how it's being wasted. We believe we have developed the answer to solve this for the hospitality industry."
Zornes said that changes introduced as a response to information recorded by Winnow Vision had saved clients the equivalent of $30m a year in food costs and 23 million meals from ending up in a bin - about one every second.
The system has the potential to learn tens of thousands of different food types and distinguish small differences such as the changes in the texture and colour of vegetarian meatballs compared to their meaty counterparts.
Winnow has said the system us being used by contract caterers, cruise ships, quick service restaurants, supermarkets and others serving pre-prepared meals.
It has been tested in IKEA's 23 stores across the UK and Ireland and the company's food manager for UK and Ireland said it has already saved the equivalent of 1.6 million meals.
He added: "At IKEA, we want to inspire and enable the many people to change their behaviour when it comes to food waste, starting in our own operations. Winnow Vision has now been installed across 22 IKEA UK and Ireland stores and the feedback from the IKEA food teams running our restaurant kitchens has been extremely positive."Get The Caterer every week on your smartphone, tablet, or even in good old-fashioned hard copy (or all three!).