Technological Innovations could help to Reduce Food Waste

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From apps controlled by smart phones, intelligent food labelling and even the rise of the ‘smart fridges’, new cutting-edge technology is set to takeover and transform the way people do their shopping and how they control their domestic food waste.

This autumn will see the release of the highly anticipated ‘smart fridge’ from Samsung in the UK, costing a cool £4,499. The family Hub refrigerator boasts many innovative mod-cons; it can connect to the internet via the domestic Wi-Fi, is has three built in cameras; allowing its users to check what they already have in the fridge and it will also feature ‘Alexa’, Amazon’s AI assistant that responds to voice commands – meaning you can tell the fridge to turn on music, order more tomatoes or make a list.

Furthermore, supermarket giant Sainsbury’s are busy producing a battery of techno-gadgets that customers are testing in its pioneering experiment in Swadlincote, Derbyshire.

The ‘Waste Less, Save More’ scheme aims to help reduce food waste by 50%, saving the average household £350 a year. The scheme has worked very closely with Bosch throughout the campaign to introduce 20 ‘smart fridges’. Similar to the Samsung smart fridge, they feature built-in cameras that are accessible via a smart phone app at any time, which aims to stop consumers from over-buying, they can even zoom in on items, meaning users can check the sell-by dates on their refrigerated items.

Sainsbury’s have been working hard conducting research into the different ways to reduce food waste. Whilst trialling different methods in Swadlincote, they have found that there are several very simple methods that could help.

Firstly, they have reported that a simple change to your fridge adjustments, such as keeping the fridge at an optimum temperature of between 2-5 degrees can aid significantly to the length of time that food can be stored.

In addition to this, they have found that using a system of labelling helps to remind people that they have food which needs to be eaten, as leftovers can often be forgotten about and ultimately thrown away at a later date. The claim for example, that using certain colours to code food can reduce food waste: “for example, green signifies the food is good to eat, while yellow tells that they haven’t got long to reuse the item”.

Another idea that is currently being trialled involves a free food-sharing app, called Olio. This app helps users to connect with other people in the same area who have left-over food to give away, allowing unwanted food to be shared, rather than put to waste.

Further to this, a company called Winnow have developed electrical scales that weigh waste as it is thrown away, which helps consumers to keep track and manage their volumes of waste, this technology is currently being trailed in many commercial kitchens where food waste is a key issue. Sainsbury’s are looking to introduce this innovative technology into homes in Swadlincote.

With one third of all food being wasted, these are exciting developments and we look forward to seeing how they could help to reduce food waste.


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The author: XPO
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