According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted worldwide every year. Out of these achieved figures, one-third of the entire food ends up in the trash. The amount of food wasted is enough to feed approximately 815 million hungry people in the world. Food waste is a severe issue, which leads to ecological hazards accounting for nearly 8% greenhouse gas emission and one-fourth of freshwater usage. The wastage of food is the major reason behind the reduced food security day by day. Though some government bodies are working on reducing wastage of perishable food, however, monitoring each nook and corner at the same time is a hard nut to crack. Therefore, setting advance technology inside the bin to scale food wastage would do the job better.
With this ground-breaking idea, Europe’s graduate business school, INSEAD pass-outs Kevin Duffy and Marc Zornes founded Winnow Solution in 2013. The duo developed a product Winnow Vision as an AI-powered bin to reduce food wastage. The bin is in-build with a camera and smart scales that keep a record of what types of food are being thrown away very often. This track helps majorly restaurants, businesses, commercial kitchens, etc. to save money on the food as food waste accounts for 5-15% of the entire food purchased by restaurants. According to research carried by Winnow, the hospitality industry spends over $100 billion on food waste.
Before the launch of Winnow Vision, the startup took 2 years in the development of automatic computer vision-enabled products to recognize different foods that are being thrown into the bin. Initially, it did not use AI and relied on people to manually input the data of waste food type. Later, it used machine learning to identify various foods after some assistance from kitchen staff to reject or confirm on a touchscreen camera whatever it has recognized. Eventually, Winnow Vision turned almost 90% accurate. Winnow Vision was launched in London’s single staff restaurant, where it helped the staff in calculating the quantity of food needed in a serving. It helped the restaurant in maximizing operational efficiency and data accuracy. According to the founders, the AI built Winnow Vision puts AI into the chef’s hand to effortlessly track the food wastage and ultimately saves both money and their time. Winnow Solution CEO Marc Zornes says every kitchen is facing the difficulty to avoid food wastage and due to the lack of observation, more food gets wasted than they estimate.
Winnow Vision empowers chefs to take action by understanding the specific food waste. However, it takes time and training for the staff to be sure that they are correctly recording food waste and entering the correct data. With the Winnow Vision’s AI technology, the staff has to take special attention if they throw food at one location into the bin. Alongside this, the kitchen staff is trained by Winnow’s team regarding the operation of Winnow Vision after the installation. Afterward, the AI took over. More and more use of Winnow Vision into various locations makes it more dynamic as a variety of food data is updated. IKEA and Emaar Hospitality Group were Winnow’s first partners to test the food waste technology. Winnow helped them in saving more than $30 million in food costs, and approximately 23 million meals were saved from going into the trash. Presently, Winnow Vision is used in more than 1000 kitchens worldwide and accepted by 40 countries to date. Winnow has secured nearly $40 million to date. European Investment Bank (EIB), The Ingenious Group, UK’s Mustard Seed, and Circularity Capital are among its prominent investors. Winnow Solutions have been titled as a Tech Disruptor 2019 at The Circulars.