In an effort to reduce our food waste and make travel matter, Red Carnation Hotels has partnered with waste-management company Winnow Solutions. At the forefront of intelligent waste management, Winnow uses groundbreaking AI technology to assist in reducing unnecessary waste. Here we talk to CEO and Founder, Marc Zornes, about Winnow and what our partnership will mean for our commitment to responsible travel.
What inspired you to set up Winnow Solutions?
“In 2011, I came to the realisation of how big the issue of food waste actually was. When the FAO released its groundbreaking report on Global Food Losses and Food Waste, it hit home that this was an issue that needed to be addressed. After recognising that there was roughly $1 trillion of food wasted every year, I couldn’t get it out of my mind and felt compelled to build a company helping to solve this problem.”
Apart from food, where can hotels reduce their wastage?
“Plastics is a big focus, with companies shifting away from single-use plastics such as water bottles and straws. This is great news as single-use plastics are not good for the environment. It’s exciting to see so much being done to reduce waste in the hospitality industry.”
Do you have any advice for limiting food waste at home?
“There are two things you can do that will make a big difference. First, buy what you need and use common sense when it comes to date codes on packaging; Best Before, Best By, Use By and Sell By are all dates that show up on packaging, yet a great Time article highlights that in the US, only infant formula has a firm use-by date for avoiding food-borne illnesses.
In addition, cook what you think your family will actually eat that day and when you cook too much, prioritise eating your leftovers. We’ve found that 40 per cent of the food that is thrown away in homes is due to too much food being overprepared in recipes and then not consumed.”
How can we raise awareness of the crisis?
“Sustainability issues like plastic reduction are on the forefront of consumers’ minds and that’s a great thing. The amount of single-use plastics we use worldwide is out of control and is something we need to reign in. That said, while single-use plastic reduction will help us have a cleaner environment and will certainly improve the health of marine ecosystems, this reduction is likely to not have a significant impact on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and avoiding climate change.
Food waste is a prevalent climate change issue. If we focus on how we value food, continue to remind people that this is something that makes economic sense to address and—ideally—if we get a few governments setting ambitious policy agendas on food waste, we’ll start to give it the attention it fully deserves.”
How might we reduce our food waste on holiday?
“Don’t be afraid to take home food you don’t eat. In the UK, there was a great campaign called ‘Too Good To Waste,’ which was focused on encouraging people to box up food they order. It’s funny to me how in some cultures, like the US, this is the norm. In other cultures, it is frowned upon for some reason. We can work to change these cultural inhibitions to do the right thing for the planet.”
How will AI technology impact food waste?
“At Winnow, we’re focusing on scaling our impact to save our clients $1 billion of food waste by 2025. To get there, we’re focusing on expanding the number of clients using Winnow.
As this happens, the power of our AI technology will improve as well. We’ve got a number of additional projects we’re working on that leverage the AI capability we’re building. Each of these projects have exciting potential to expand our impact and the value we deliver to our clients.”
Red Carnation Hotels is thrilled to announce our partnership with Winnow Solutions, working together to Make Travel Matter.