DENHAM, ENGLAND—InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has announced a partnership with technology company Winnow to help its hotels automatically track, measure and reduce food waste for more sustainable and efficient restaurant and bar operations.
IHG is the first global hotel company to use the award-winning Winnow Vision AI enabled technology, which will help its hotels achieve a 30 percent reduction in food waste. Using an intelligent camera, smart scales and AI-based smart meter technology, Winnow Vision analyzes ingredients during food preparation, as well as plates returned to the kitchen, to assess which food items are most wasted and in what quantities. This builds up a bank of data which in turn informs buying decisions, shapes menus and hones food preparation techniques.
Winnow’s technology has been successfully installed in seven IHG hotels in its Europe, Middle East, Asia & Africa (EMEAA) region, with installation due in a further 30 properties in the coming months. One hotel already benefitting from this approach is InterContinental Fujairah Resort, UAE. In just six months, the resort has been able to reduce food waste by more than 50 percent. Sixty more hotels in the EMEAA region have expressed their interest in signing up to the technology and IHG is currently exploring rollout to its other two regions—the Americas and Greater China.
Initiative Addresses UN Goal Number 12
The announcement came on World Sustainable Gastronomy Day, which raises awareness on the role gastronomy can play in contributing to sustainable development, in support of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). IHG’s initiative addresses goal number 12: responsible consumption and production.
Kenneth Macpherson, CEO, EMEAA, IHG, said: “With more than 5,600 hotels right across the world, a commitment to operating responsibly is at the heart of all we do. We know there’s always more that can be done to make a greater difference—whether that’s minimizing waste through the removal of plastic straws or introducing innovative technology to reduce our environmental impact. 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.”
Marc Zornes, Founder and CEO, Winnow, said: “Food waste is a global issue, and one that kitchens around the world are struggling with. Without visibility into what is being wasted, kitchens are wasting far more food than they think. It is a privilege to work with such a forward-thinking hospitality chain as IHG and help them become the first global hotel brand to significantly reduce food waste globally by using Artificial Intelligence while improving their responsible processes in their food and beverages offer.”
This partnership builds on IHG’s long-term commitment to minimize waste across all of its hotel estate and operations, beginning with its IHG Green Engage system, a well-established online sustainability program, which recommends ways for IHG branded hotels worldwide to manage their waste more effectively. This includes guidance on how hotels can handle, store, recycle and dispose of waste both on and off-site, to minimize environmental impact and costs.