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UAE businesses tackle food waste Print


Food waste in the UAE is estimated at 197 kilograms per person per year, almost double that of Europe and North America, which ranges from 95kg to 115kg, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. This costs the UAE economy a staggering 13 billion dirhams (R52 billion) p.a., according to London-based tech firm Winnow, which specialises in food waste management.


Many hotels and restaurants in the country are now exploring different options, from tech solutions by Winnow, which helps chefs run more sustainable and profitable kitchens, to solutions like BonApp, a UAE-based food tech start-up founded by Scandinavian trio Erika Daintry, Malin Raman Delin and Alice Kaboli.


SURPLUS FOOD
BonApp helps cafés and restaurants minimise their food waste by selling surplus items on the app at discounts ranging from 30% to 50%. Customers can opt to pick up, dine-in or have the food delivered. Since its launch in February 2018, BonApp has been downloaded more than 1,000 times and has helped to save 10,000 meals, or three tonnes of food, from ending up in landfills.


SMART KITCHENS
Winnow’s Waste Monitor is increasingly being used in UAE hotels. The system enables culinary teams to track what food is thrown away so they can identify areas for reducing their food waste. Armani Hotel Dubai, started using Winnow’s technology in March 2018. It estimates that using the technology has helped it prevent 117,000 meals from being thrown away, resulting in a 47% reduction in food waste. This translates to yearly savings of 148,000 dirhams (R590,000).


GOVERNMENT PUSH
The UAE government has made a commitment to cut food waste by 50% by 2030. One of the government’s initiatives is the UAE Food Bank, launched in 2017, that distributes food to those in need while eliminating food waste by collaborating with authorities and charities. The goal is to create an ecosystem to store, package and distribute excess food from hotels, restaurants and supermarkets.


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SANHA Comments:
Islām frowns on wastage and extravagance in general and on food wastage in particular.  Measures to counter this are welcomed. The primary responsibility lies with each individual and this is dictated by our lifestyle choices. Strive to align your ways with that of Allāh’s Messenger (salutations and peace be upon him) who would ensure that his plate was clean and would lick his fingers after eating. Eat in moderation. Share your excess with neighbours and the less fortunate. Share with dignity, food that can still be consumed. Do not delay until stale. 

 

 
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