The International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham and its in-house caterer, Amadeus, are utilising cutting-edge AI technology to reduce food waste at the venue by a third.

In a bid to support their joint food waste reduction strategy, the ICC and Amadeus had been searching for technology that could help them meet their ambitious targets. Working with Winnow Solutions, they have now installed software that monitors both the type and amount of food being disposed of. 

Data is validated by the user selecting the item that’s being disposed of from a catalogue on an iPad. The iPad is connected to Winnow which then weighs it, allowing for accurate daily and weekly reporting on wastage levels.

The four-week pilot results revealed that the reduction in waste would lead to an annual saving of over 16.3 tonnes of food – the equivalent of 40,800 meals!

Simon Hellier, executive chef at the ICC said: “We are a venue with a conscious, and one that’s always seeking new ways of reducing our impact on the environment without comprising on quality. The venue’s kitchens cater for over 350,000 delegate days every year, so if we over-stock, this can vastly increase what we have to send offsite for recycling or anaerobic digestion. Changing our habits using AI helps the environment and saves us resource, time and labour.” 

ICC and Amadeus’ utilisation of Winnow is being run alongside several additional sustainable and eco-friendly initiatives at the city-centre venue, including the usage of new LED lighting, roof-top ‘bee hotels’ and a CHP Generator. Partnering with Olio has also been another food waste success. It’s a charitable scheme that connects volunteer ‘Food Waste Heroes’ with businesses, to share un-used food with those in the community. The ICC has been actively participating in the scheme since December 2018, providing support to the homeless in Birmingham.

Marc Frankl, Amadeus food and beverage director concluded: “The results of the Winnow pilot are looking extremely promising, with the system already working wonders to reduce excessive waste. The combination of Winnow and Olio ensures we account for every aspect of the food waste process, doing our bit for the environment and for charity.” 

Stuart Coetzee, business development manager at Winnow added: “The ICC and Amadeus teams were impressive from day one, and it was wonderful to watch the enthusiasm with which they tackled the project. The cultural change on waste that the team were able to adopt, based on the Winnow data and the resulting reductions, have set an outstanding benchmark for other events kitchens to follow.”

Amadeus is now hoping to install the system in 10 additional Amadeus kitchens, servicing sister venues the Vox, NEC, Arena Birmingham and Resorts World Arena, plus external contracted venues across the country.

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Molly joined the editorial team in March 2019. She has several years’ experience working in broadcast and journalism, as well as marketing and PR. Past experience includes working for the BBC and independent publishing houses. If you have a story you think Molly might be interested in, please email: molly@eventindustrynews.com