EAC chair trials food waste app with Sainsbury’s

Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) chair Mary Creagh is among five British MPs that have volunteered to take part in a trial for an innovative new food waste app launched by supermarket giant Sainsbury's.

Labour MP Mary Creagh joins Conservative MSP and Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Maurice Golden; Green Party Northern Island Leader Steven Agnew; Conservative MP Mark Pawsey; and Scottish National Party’s Margaret Ferrier in trialling the ‘Winnow’ app.

The app, which operates as a smart meter to monitor and weigh food waste, is the next step in Sainsbury’s Waste Less, Save More programme to reduce food waste.

Sainsbury’s head of sustainability, energy and engineering Paul Crewe said: “Our kitchens have long played a home for innovative tech, but it’s no longer confined to our smoothie makers and coffee machines. Winnow’s brilliant because it not only highlights the cost associated with food waste, but challenges you to beat your own records.”

“When it comes to food waste we’re a nation in denial, frequently underestimating what we throw away. Thankfully this trial can really hammer home the amount of food going in the bin, which is the first step to making a change.  To have such high-profile names on board is testament not only to the importance of the issue, but also their commitment to reduce food waste. We’re all excited to see the results!”

Winnow provides a platform for users to record information on their food waste habits. Digital scales record the type of product, the weight of it, and the reason for it being thrown away. The data is then compiled by Winnow to track total waste value and sources over time. Configuring this information against Sainsbury’s pricing, users are then provided with a report of both the financial costs of their waste and how that cost can be reduced. 

Food fight

The Winnow app was previously only used in commercial kitchens, but has now been adapted for domestic use, gamifying the issue of food waste among consumers. Having already been trialled in six UK households, initial results show a 68% reduction in food waste and savings of £268 per year per household as a direct result of using the app.

The trial period for the Winnow app will run for four weeks, with findings to be announced in the New Year. The app will be considered for a wider roll-out if the trial period proves successful.

Sainsbury’s has committed to invest a £1m into towns and cities across the UK to cut back on food waste.

This is reflective of a shift in attitudes among the big supermarkets to tackle food waste across the country, but a number of barriers still need to be overcome in order to accelerate the shift to a fully circular economy. Earlier this week, Tesco’s chief executive Dave Lewis told edie that there is a need for better communication and greater transparency from businesses to help mobilise further action amongst suppliers and consumers.

Alex Baldwin

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