Six food waste apps to watch. #5: Winnow

Around the world, innovators are coming up with high-tech ways to tackle food waste. In this six-part series, we look at innovative apps set to tackle food waste. Number 5: Winnow.

Food waste is a huge problem and one that’s getting worse. In developing countries, the waste tends to happen at the beginning of the chain due to inferior harvesting, storing and cooling techniques. But in more developed countries, it’s consumer behaviour that tends to be the biggest cause of waste.

While many of the problems will require systematic change on a global level, others are solvable by smaller behavioural or process changes. And it’s these that software developers are seeking to address with a range of applications that are designed to keep food out of the waste bin.

There is an app for that

From farm to fork, if there is wastage in the food supply chain, the chances are there’s an app for that. In this six-part series, we look at high-tech solutions that are at the forefront of the fight against food waste.

#5. Winnow

The hospitality sector wastes an estimated US$100 billion (€85.19 billion) worth food every year. This staggering figure, alongside others, was partly the inspiration for Marc Zornes to develop Winnow, a system that uses data to make kitchens more efficient.

“Significant change in kitchens benefits both businesses and the planet”

- Marc Zornes

Designed with the busy kitchen in mind, the technology – essentially a smart meter attached to the food waste bin – allows staff to track how and what food is wasted with just a few clicks. It provides real-time and regular reporting so users can easily identify areas for reducing food waste.

It’s already having a significant impact on food waste in the hospitality industry around the world and has helped some big names achieve huge savings. Kitchens using Winnow can reduce food waste by 50 per cent or more and typically save 3-8 per cent on food cost. Profits at the average kitchen increase by between U$20-50,000 (€17-42,600) per year once Winnow is installed, depending on the type of restaurant and the amount of fresh produce it uses.

Since its launch in 2013, Winnow has collectively saved around 10 million meals a year, prevented approximately 18,600 tonnes of CO2 emissions and realised £8.5 million (€9.65 million) savings for its customers, which now include IKEA, AccorHotels and Compass Group.

“In a relatively short period of time, we have demonstrated digital tools can help chefs drive significant change in kitchens that benefits both their business and the planet,” said Zornes. “We are working to exceed 4,000 kitchens by 2020 and ultimately are looking towards a future where every kitchen uses data to manage waste in the same way they do with sales or inventory.”

Curious about the other innovations featured in this series about food waste apps, see:

#1: NoFoodWasted
#2. Too Good To Go
#3. OLIO
#4. ImpactVision
#6. FreshSurety