Dubai: The UAE hospitality sector is increasingly relying on AI-powered cameras to recognise what food is being wasted, saving on average 1.6 million meals per year.
Marc Zornes, co-founder and CEO of London-based food tech firm, Winnow, said that the company’s Winnow Vision uses AI to detect the type and quantity of food items getting binned.
A camera is fixed on a wall overlooking the bin, so as to recognise food items as they are thrown away.
The system is around 90 per cent accurate, and can be trained by staff who can confirm or reject on a touchscreen any item that the camera has recognised.
At an official launch event, Zornes explained that Winnow Vision is saving the UAE’s hospitality industry around Dh10 million per year, with around 100 kitchens in the UAE currently live with Winnow.
The event, organised by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), involved a panel discussion on using AI to reduce food waste. Panellists included Dr Thani Bin Ahmad Al Zeyoudi, minister of climate change and environment; Omar Sultan Al Olama, minister of state for artificial intelligence; and Zornes.
“The fast pace of technological advancement brings us a wealth of innovations that we can leverage to drive our sustainability agenda forward. Enjoying artificial intelligence as a powerful tool to manage and eliminate food waste adds significant momentum to our efforts and makes our task that much easier and more seamless. Efficient collaboration between hospitality and tech companies will inform food waste management decisions and deliver substantial benefits,” said Al Zeyoudi.
Al Olama added: “Curbing food waste is an area where AI can be a useful tool and bring in tremendous benefits to sustain the sector for current and future generations.”
At the event, representatives from UAE-based hospitality companies signed the UAE Food Waste Pledge to save two million meals in 2019 and three million meals in 2020.
Signatories included Dubai Municipality, Etihad Airways, Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel, JA Resorts and Hotels, and Mayar Facilities Management Company.