IHG taps into AI technology in bid to slash food waste by 30%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is using artificial intelligence (AI) technology across its restaurant and bar operations in a bid to achieve a 30% reduction in food waste.
Working with technology firm Winnow, IHG has installed technology that uses cameras and smart scales to analyse ingredients during food preparation and plates returned to the kitchens at its hotels. AI technology is then used to assess which food items are wasted most to build a data bank that will inform buying decisions, improve food preparation and shape menu options.
The technology has been trialled in seven hotels across the Europe, Middle East, Asia & Africa (EMEAA) region, with the Fujairah Resort, UAE, hotel reducing food waste by more than 50% during a six-month period.
IHG EMEAA’s chief executive, Kenneth, Macpherson said: “Our partnership with Winnow will help our hotels be smarter and savvier in their approach to creating compelling menus that result in less waste whether it’s a grab-and-go breakfast, a family restaurant or a Michelin dining experience.
“I’m delighted that this is being led by some of our hotels in the Middle East, who are already seeing significant food waste reductions, and I’m looking forward to seeing this technology take off in more and more of our hotels around the world.”
The Winnow technology is set to be installed in a further 30 properties over the next few months, and 60 more hotels within the region have expressed interest in utilising the technology.
IHG is currently exploring whether rollouts across the Americas and Greater China are possible.
London-based Winnow recently revealed that a real-life trial of its digital bins for food waste across Ikea’s new Greenwich store had proven successful. The company had also worked with contract caterer Compass UK & Ireland and social charity Hubbub on a behaviour change campaign to find out what makes diners at corporate restaurants waste less food.
As for IHG, the company has announced that it will remove plastic straws from its global estate of more than 5,400 hotels by the end of 2019. IHG has already removed plastic straws from almost 1,000 hotels across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. It is estimated that IHG will eliminate around 50 million single-use plastic straws from its estate, once they have been completely removed.
There are more than 150 million tonnes of plastic in the world’s oceans and IHG is introducing steps to reduce the amount of plastic it is using. The Group is introducing bulk-size bathroom amenities to several hotel brands in the Americas that replace miniature bathroom amenities.