Saturday, March 30, 2019

Using technology to cut food waste

We Are The World Blogfest
It has been estimated that huge quantity of food goes waste around the world in a year -- millions of tons, going by estimates made by various research agencies. To counter this, scientists and startup enthusiasts are making use of modern technology.

More than at home, it's in restaurants where the wastage occurs most. People order food without having a clear idea of what they are going to eat. Usually, the menu has no information on either the ingredients or on how the food has been prepared. With the result, many people tend to waste what they have ordered.

Gunjan Mehrish, Monica Narula and Noopur Tiwari have come up with a solution -- video menus, called Fideos.

These are short 10 to 30-second videos that show "how a food dish is prepared and where the ingredients have been sourced from. They are transparent and give the customers a fair idea of the sumptuous dishes on offer", says this report in The Better India. They are now collaborating with many popular restaurants, in Delhi.

In Britain, IKEA has deployed a solution called 'intelligent bins', which aims to cut the amount that chefs throw away in the bin. The bins take a photo and learn to recognise what has been thrown out. The bin weighs it and calculates the cost. Chefs then understand the optimum amount that needs to be used in order to reduce waste, says this BBC report. IKEA says during the first year they have been able to achieve a 32% reduction in food waste.

(This post is a part of the We Are The World Blogfest, a series that celebrates good news.)

16 comments:

  1. Hi Pradeep ... bother I wrote a long comment and wanted to check something from your post - so I lost it, when I got back here.

    I think this is an excellent idea ... there is so much waste - and if they can get restaurants in Delhi to join them ... it must help so many of the poorer people.

    Ikea sets good standards and I note that it is in 38 countries and territories - so their ideas will spread around the world and be reported on for people to pick up and consider implementing.

    I did a brief cookery course in London in the late 1960s ... where the French 'tutor' had I guess come over during the War to escape Paris ... and we were taught to use up every item of food ... peelings etc went into the stock ... certainly we were very careful at home - and I've always used fresh and realised how lucky I am with my access to different foods.

    Now we need to encourage people to try new foods, buy the fresh items, learn how to use them ... and most certainly don't waste - wherever we are in the world.

    Brilliant #WAWTB post ... love it - cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks a lot, Hilary, for the detailed comments.
      I am sure the idea will be implemented in Delhi and other cities and towns in the country will join subsequently.
      Glad to know what the French tutor had taught you.
      It's always best, when trying a new dish, to limit the quantity, so that just in case it isn't tasty, not much would be wasted.

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  2. Fantastic inventions So necessary I am completely against food waste. Here "the waste" often goes to the homeless community Great post Thanks

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    1. Thanks, Marja. Indeed, the best way to ensure that unused food goes to the needy.

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  3. The amount of food waste that goes out of homes is also huge. And they are degradable - which makes them excellent compost. I have been trying to use wasted food to create compost but have failed to implement it properly yet. But am determined do something better soon.

    Destination Infinity

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    1. Thanks, Rajesh, for the comments.
      Yes, making compost out of biodegradable waste is a good idea; and needs to be encouraged. There are now small composting units that can be kept at homes.

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  4. Thanks for this Pradeep - glad that the initiative was taken to SHOW how much food is wasted. I think we have no idea really. My daughter-in-law is in training to be a chef. I know that she uses every single scrap of food stuffs to prepare meals ..

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    1. Thanks, Susan, for the comments.
      I am sure your daughter in law will be taught how to make efficient use of ingredients while preparing food. Good wishes to her in her career as a chef.

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  5. I hate wasting food. ~shakes head~ I've eaten many a regretted item bought at the store or ordered at a restaurant rather than throw it out. Great solutions.

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    1. Thanks a lot, Darla. I have done the same thing. I try to take only a small portion of food which I am not familiar with; just in case, I don't like it.

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  6. This is an excellent idea. Food wastage is everywhere. Not just restaurants. In homes, and especially in marriages.

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    1. Thanks, Rajan, for the comments. Yes, lots of food is wasted at weddings.

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  7. Great post! There is so much food waste in both personal and professional kitchens it's astounding. My husband went to culinary school and worked as a chef for a few years when he was younger, he always comments on how much food they used to waste. I love the fact that minimizing waste seems to be becoming a trend. In Toronto, our first no waste supermarket just opened and I plan to visit it. Thanks so much for sharing this and for being a part of the #WATWB family!

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    1. Thanks Witzenhausen, for stopping by. Glad to know about the no waste supermarket.

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  8. I don't need to hear this. I'm a very picky eater, so I tend to pick off lots of food from dishes when I order out. It's easier than trying to explain what I would rather not have in my dish. I guess it would just be better for me to never go out, I'm that particular.

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