How technology can reduce food waste

31/01/2019 - 09:41
The hospitality industry is becoming increasingly aware of conscious consumers who are interested in environmental implications such as sustainability and food waste. Nick Hucker, chief executive of digital ordering provider, Preoday, comments.

Food wholesaler Bidfood has coined the phenomenon ‘Good for me, good for you’ and according to the NPD Group’s top trends for 2019, reducing kitchen waste will see the emergence of ‘slimmer’ menus.

What’s more, alarming research from WRAP revealed that a total 3.4 million tonnes of waste is disposed of each year in the food sector, of which 1.5m tonnes are sent for disposal. 41% (600,000 tonnes) of waste from restaurants, hotels and quick service restaurants is food.

So how can hospitality businesses use new technology to combat the problem? Below are some of the key technologies driving change:

Apps

Reducing food-related waste needn’t start with the packaging but with the food itself, which is where technology can help.

There are a number of apps that aim to reduce food waste, such as Olio, FoodCloud and Farmdrop, whose approaches range from helping to connect neighbours and local retailers so surplus food can be shared and not disposed of, to farm-to-door delivery services connecting the consumer directly with local farmers, to ensure maximum transparency.

Improving inventory management

Digital ordering can play a part by helping operators to better manage stock control and ensure as little food as possible is wasted.

With digital ordering, knowing what customers have ordered ahead of service enables kitchen managers to reduce food waste by managing their production volumes. Over time, cumulative data about customers’ buying behaviour can significantly reduce avoidable food waste.

Digital bins

The emergence of tech such as smart bins has helped chefs to become more aware of what they discard, which is good news for both the environment and the bottom line. This involves a scale that weighs food waste bins and a touchscreen that allows operators to log what is being thrown away. The analytics can then be reviewed to make kitchens run more efficiently.

Hucker concludes: “2019 is set to be a big year for reducing food waste.

‘(Preoday) is looking forward to seeing what new innovations will emerge to help consumers eat and drink in a more environmentally-friendly way, and support operators to become more transparent to customers.”

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