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Food is Too Valuable to Waste – Interview with Maxime Pourrat of Winnow

Food waste is a huge problem and our growing affluence isn’t helping. With one-third of our global food production going to waste, it just doesn’t make any economical sense. So what are we to do? Maxime Pourrat, Managing Director of Winnow might just have the answer – data.

Food waste not only doesn’t make sense for the planet, it’s also nonsensical for a business. But being able to measure our impact will allow us to manage it better- and that’s what Winnow is here to do.

By looking at your data, you will see that you can actually make a change. – Maxime Pourrat 


We’re speaking with Maxime today about:

> How big the food waste problem really is
> Innovative solutions available to deal with the issue
> How we can use data to our advantage


How big is the food waste problem really on a global scale? 

MAXIME POURRAT:  We are wasting one-third of all the food that is produced (in the world) and that doesn’t make sense. A lot of land is used to produce this food that is wasted (almost 30%). When we look at the impact this has, not only do we look at the food that is going to end up in landfills but also the habitats that are destroyed and the amount of water used to produce this food that will be wasted. If we look at the business side of things, it is a lot of money. Almost USD$1 trillion is thrown away every year. 


That’s insane. But why is so much food wasted?

We are becoming a society that is used to getting everything we want when we want it. So we have to respond to these demands. By producing more, everyone can get whatever they want, when they want it.


So how does Winnow tackle this? 

Food waste is a problem that happens at many levels. From production to our homes and in restaurants. With more knowledge in the hospitality business, we can help this particular industry understand where the food waste happens and how much it actually costs. By quantifying food waste and allowing them to look at the data, they will be able to improve production, planning and understand what exactly they are throw away.


Amazing, so how does the tech work? 

Our product connects a scale to a tablet via bluetooth, which is then put in the kitchen. The bin is then placed on top of the scale. Every time there is overproduction, the bin is going to send a signal to the tablet to tell them “hey you just threw away 1 kilogram – what is it?” In 3 simple clicks, our system can tell you that it was coming from breakfast and that it was scrambled eggs. It’ll tell you that you just threw away $10 worth of eggs. Our system is connected to a cloud and data is sent to a cloud to process. An analysis is provided showing what food was thrown away and how much it cost. This then becomes the biggest opportunity to do something about it, by using the data to stop the waste from source.


Data is powerful in helping us unlock the problem. Do you have any anecdotes or case studies from big clients, their problems and the results? 

For example, we started working with Accor group first in Asia, then globally. We helped them take action and got them to the forefront of the public to declare that they don’t want to waste food anymore and want to reduce food waste by 30% by 2020. We also work with companies that have been sustainable for years like IKEA, to take their movement a step further like reducing their food waste by 50%. We also work with Costa Cruise to reduce their food waste by 50%. All of this movement is coming from us just saying “Look at your data”.


#LittleGreenSteps to reduce your food waste

1) Don’t ever go to the supermarket hungry 

Chances are, you’re going to overbuy. Then it’s going to end up in the fridge/drawer to rot.

2) Make a grocery list so you know what you want to buy.

Plan your meals. I have a drawer in my fridge that says “To Eat First”. That’s where I put all the food that is going to go bad soon. I have a rule that every time I open my fridge, I have to look in that drawer first.

3) Reuse as much as possible.

I put all the trimmings of fruits and vegetables into a bag in my freezer. Once a month, I will put everything into a pot to make vegetable stock!


Read more about Winnow Solutions and check out their website.


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