Startups and Companies Use AI to Curb Food Waste
Thu, April 22, 2021

Startups and Companies Use AI to Curb Food Waste

AI is helping startups curb food waste / Photo Credit: oerngebhardt68 (via Shutterstock)


Technology helps curb world hunger and its impact on any sector of the economy involves AI, a sophisticated software that showcases a machine’s ability to make decisions and predictions in ways similar to that of humans, according to Peter Rejcek of Singularity Hub, Singularity University’s news and insights hub. 

In a report written by charity Ellen MacArthur Foundation and American tech company Google, technologies using AI to “design out food wastes” could generate up to an estimated amount of  $127 billion each year by 2030. Technologies can be in a form of AI categorizing food, monitoring inventory, or alerting producers when problems arise.   

London-based startup Winnow Solutions acquired $20 million in October to bolster its AI platform, Winnow Vision. The platform “identifies and weighs food waste for commercial kitchens.” Then, each scraped bowl of carrots, a plate fettuccine Alfredo, or anything that is dumped into the startup’s waste bin will be assigned a dollar value. 

Winnow Vision has an accuracy rate of more than 80% when identifying waste foods. Managing director of Winnow Solutions Peter Krebs told Singularity Hub via email that the platform is better “than the busy kitchen staff,” they can only categorize foot waste “between 70 and 75%.” Krebs explained, “Once chefs have the insight into what is being wasted on a daily basis, kitchens can reduce food waste quickly.” 

Israeli startup Wasteless developed an algorithm for pricing perishable goods. It monitors an item’s price in real-time, adjusting the cost based on its expiration date. Hence, products that have a short shelf life are discounted. In a 12-week pilot test, a retailer diminished food waste by 39%, with its revenues skyrocketing to 110%. 

In the agriculture sector, Microsoft is showcasing how its AI applications like Azure Cognitive Services has ensured a dairy farm in Australia will produce high-quality milk safely and efficiently. Microsoft’s AI and a temperature monitoring system that uses sensors can detect fluctuations in temperature in storage trucks and tanks. If a problem occurs in the refrigeration system, the AI sends a notification to prevent milk from spoiling. 

There has been an increased focus on reducing food waste, but it is up to retailers and producers to invest in technology to make that goal a reality.