Ensuring No Food Gets Left Behind With AI

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Food wastage is not a strange phenomenon to anyone. It has been around since the beginning of humanity, so we are all expected to be familiar with what it is. However, many of us are not aware of its actual implications even though we all have heard about it before. To start with, it affects you economically. However, this is not the only thing as food wastage also has a widespread environmental and ethical impact.


Food wastage means loss of money


Despite the loss of each individual, therefore is more than 80 million tons of food wastage every year in Europe. The cost associated with this is considered to be around €143 billion. To be more specific, this amounts to 30% of entire Europe's food yearly. Isn't that quite unsettling?


Over the recent years, there has been an emergence of innovations seeking to deal with the problem of food wastage. The most leading Idea being used to combat this is Artificial Intelligence (AI). A good example of the use of AI to fight food wastage is the production system that is being used by DV Nutrition, a Dutch whey protein company. The company manufactures 10000 metric tons of whey protein every year. This is achieved by using AI to match production speeds to its storage tanks' capacity more closely.


What is whey?


The average reader might be unfamiliar with the substance called whey. So, let’s address it briefly. Whey is a natural product and its composition is affected by the seasons. Therefore, to consistently get high-quality whey, seasonality needs to be anticipated in the process. According to the general manager of DV Nutrition, the company makes use of the latest data such as temperature to make real-time proactive adjustments.


Addressing the issue of package quality and appearance


While we have many causes of food wastage, one of the most notable ones is the issue of package quality and appearance. When we talk about appearance and package quality, we are talking of things like wrinkles, cracks and dents. Tetra Pak is one of the market leaders of food processing and packing solutions in over 175 countries.


According to the company, there are ongoing works aimed towards developing systems that are powered by AI. One of these systems is believed to take a picture of every single package coming out from the production line. In addition, the system is expected to regularly conduct inline analysis to decrease failures.


With the traditional methods of package quality control, operators are required to sample a small number of packages. However, with Tetra Pak's proof of concept, each package image is analyzed by a system that is made of deep neural networks. The neural network model helps to distinguish the packages with issues from those with none. The consequence of this is that Tetra Pak can now understand problems associated with its customers' production better, thanks to Artificial Intelligence. Understanding such issues that they can now be dealt with effectively and recommendations will be made accordingly. Errors are correlated with process settings and the root causes will be addressed.


Artificial Intelligence in culinary management strategy


For every business enterprise that requires a food handlers license, the importance of AI in reducing food wastage cannot be overemphasized. A good example of this is the case of hotel chain IHG, the parent of Holiday Inn, Kimpton Properties, Crowne Plaza and lots more. It has been recently received that artificial intelligence will very crucial to the company's culinary management strategy. The company has committed to providing over 30 of its hotels with technology from the United Kingdom to help fight food wastage.


The system makes use of a collection of cameras, smart scales and smart meters guided by AI. This will help to keep a record of the amount of food left on plates that are coming back to the kitchen and if common items are being regularly wasted. The information will then be sent to a database where it will be used to make better buying decisions, change food preparation styles and also transform menus. This equipment is known as Winnow.


The equipment was introduced in one of the company's resort and the result so far has been positive. It was able to reduce food waste by 50% within the space of six months. Isn't that incredible? As it stands now, the equipment had been installed outside of the United States, especially in the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Asia.


Many experts have voiced their opinions about this issue. According to many of these seasoned professionals, visibility is very important when it comes to controlling food wastage. Without visibility into what is being wasted, more food is being wasted by kitchens than they think.


With this article, you now have a good knowledge of how AI is ensuring that no food gets left behind.

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