A startup uses AI and computer vision to help restaurants manage and reduce food waste
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Spotted: According to one report, as much as half a pound of food is wasted for every restaurant meal, including from kitchen waste and what’s left on customers’ plates. While some of this can’t be helped (peels, rinds, food that has gone off), there is a lot of scope for improvement. That is the goal of Dutch startup Orbisk, which has developed a computer vision system that helps food service operators identify and cut down on waste.
Orbisk’s system includes a smart camera connected to a scale, which is installed near a facility’s waste bin. Staff hold food destined for the bin under the camera before throwing it away. The system identifies the exact foods and how much is being thrown away. The artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm then delivers data that helps the restaurant monitor exactly what and how much is being thrown away, and why.
The system works for both pre- and post-preparation foods and the results help operators manage their kitchens and supply chains to minimise waste. For example, if a lot of a particular raw ingredient is going off before it can be cooked, the kitchen knows it needs to order less of that ingredient. Or, if leftovers of a particular dish are being thrown away frequently, this may mean the portion sizes of that dish are too large.
The company describes its goal as “a mission to make the world’s food system more sustainable. We do this by using progressive and innovative technology to tackle one of today’s biggest challenges: food waste. Our solution provides hospitality organisations with a complete insight into their food waste and helps them cut their waste in half.”
Orbisk is not the only company developing solutions to reduce food waste. Winnow, in the UK, makes a similar AI-powered system aimed at driving operational improvements and cutting waste. Other innovative ways of tackling food waste spotted by Springwise include making fabric out of food waste and a countertop system for turning home food waste into compost.
Written By: Lisa Magloff