UAE is using artificial intelligence in kitchens to track down food waste.

‘Winnow Vision’ is helping save 1.6 million meals per year from going waste

This Monday, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) revealed that its hospitality sector is saving 1.6 million meals per year from being wasted by using artificial intelligence (AI) in commercial kitchens. The use of AI is implemented in the form of AI-powered cameras that automatically recognizes what food is being thrown into the bin.

‘Winnow Vision uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect the type and quantity of food items getting binned. The data allows commercial kitchens to track their food waste and make necessary changes to their food purchases and menus,’ said Marc Zornes, the co-founder, and CEO of Winnow Vision at an official launch in Dubai. The system is stated to be 90 percent accurate and can also be manually trained by the staff by confirming or rejecting what the camera has recognized on the screen. It can take anywhere between 200 and 1,000 images to train the Winnow Vision system to recognize a food item.

Newly, 50 of the largest kitchen have signed up for the installation of these AI-powered camera systems. In total, there are around 100 kitchens which have partnered with Winnow Vision. Marc Zornes added that Winnow Vision is saving the UAE’s hospitality industry approximately Dh10 (USD 2.72) million per year, in terms of food wastage costs.

All of this data came during the launch event at Emirates Towers, which included a panel discussion on using AI to reduce food waste. The panelists included Dr. Thani Bin Ahmad Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment; Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence; and Zornes. At the event, the different representatives from the UAE’s hospitality sectors signed the ‘UAE Food Waste Pledge’ to save two million meals in 2019 and three million meals in 2020.

Dr. Al Zeyoudi said: “Today, I am pleased to reaffirm the UAE’s commitment to meeting the global target to cut food losses and waste by 50 percent by 2030 in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. To ensure that we can achieve the transformative change, I invite the entire hospitality sector in the UAE to join our pledge and commit to reducing food waste in its operations now.”

The winnow vision system is powered by Nvidia technology. The system uses a set of digital weighing scales which sits on top of a standard kitchen bin. Mounted above the bin are a camera and an embedded system containing an Nvidia Jetson TX2 supercomputer on a module. The module takes the images captured by the camera, as well as the weight recorded by the scales, and understands what is being thrown out and in what quantity.

“The embedded chips run computer vision in real-time,” said Zornes. “When I throw food into the bin, the system takes a photo then a pipeline of AI runs against that photograph.”

Purushottam Gaurav

About the author