Food waste is a huge environmental issue that affects every area of our lives, with an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food being wasted globally. For businesses, there’s never been a better time to be getting a handle on this. As you may know – getting a handle on food waste saves profits and the planet – making it a total no-brainer. Because this is such a pressing topic, there are plenty of opportunities out there. Here are some you may want to dive into.
AI Training for your staff on best practise
If you have visions of Terminator marching in front of your team with a mortar board on, then time for a slight adjustment to your expectations. AI is expected to be of huge use in educational roles and as a positive – represents a way to level the playing field in getting a great education. This isn’t just for GCSE level – but for advanced processes. With the chat capabilities, it seems perfectly reasonable that an AI chat system can engage with employees and offer critical thinking around their food orders, proposed menu and other data points. Unlike a human, who can be distracted, irritated or simply a poor teacher, AI is endlessly patient, all-seeing (ish) and able to convey information time and time again. AI has been used in many businesses, and the Orderly system is powered by AI learning itself. Please click to get a demo of how it works and its capabilities.
Robotic waste management
Food waste management software can also have that AI touch to it – but what’s more interesting are the robot armies sorting waste at its destination.
Some waste sorting facilities have invested in AI robotic pickers which can be trained to sort industrial and commercial waste.
One, known as the Fast Picker, has robotic arms and what is called a “ZenBrain” which compiles information on the waste stream being sorted and feeds this data to the picking arms. That means it learns hundreds of material types.
But while it’s fun to learn about packaging waste – which is a huge problem for OFDS – how about food waste and getting it to its destination?
There are some interesting developments here, as Australian startup Goterra offers a modular waste management solution for food waste recycling. The startup applies robotic technology to enhance maggots’ food processing abilities, turning food waste into insect protein and frass (this is a nutrient-rich insect byproduct that enhances soil and makes it more productive and resilient to the impacts of climate change.)
AI and cameras observe the kitchen
Food service kitchens waste 4-10% of the food they purchase before it ever reaches a plate which represents a massive financial, environmental and social problem. In the UK we have a real issue with customer use-produced waste, which particularly impacts dine-in and groceries, which is why cameras and AI may be perfect candidates here. By recording what is happening in the kitchen, AI can observe waste patterns and help by eliminating over ordering, and excess preparation or even suggest menu modifications to downside portions.
At Orderly, we have used CCTV and integrated this into our system and AI engine for quite some time now. We can reduce stock take times and ensure busy staff are given the right data at the right time about what is happening in their store to reduce food waste and increase customer satisfaction.
Menu ideas on tap
Food waste has long been repurposed into delicious new specials, but AI may be making that easier. In 2022, Hellmann’s mayonnaise created a campaign to showcase how using ChatGPT, any consumer could add their fridge contents and create a meal. Repurposing now doesn’t have to be down to just an individual’s knowledge, but could come from recipes across the world.
Don’t get left behind…
That’s just the start of where AI could be taking us. Don’t get left behind. Get serious about food waste reduction – and save real money, right now.