Ikea uses smart tech to slash waste

Ikea has unveiled plans to halve the amount of food wasted in its global operations by 2020 as part of a new Food is Precious initiative.

The Swedish retailer is using technology solutions from LeanPath and Winnow to measure the volume of food waste and where it is generated in order to find innovative ways to reduce the volume of food that’s thrown away.

The ‘smart scale’ solution is built of a touch screen connected to a floor scale that carries a waste bin to measure food waste. The data collected helps identify ways to prevent food being thrown away.

So far over 20% of Ikea stores globally have implemented the solution resulting in a reduction of 79,200 kg of food waste, equal to 341,000 kg CO2 saved, according to the company. The staged rollout will take place across Ikea’s 48 markets over the next two years.

The use of technology supports efforts by Ikea to increase awareness of food waste, improve forecast accuracy in prepared food volumes and revise portion sizes.

“It is very encouraging to see the initial results of the Food is Precious initiative,” said Michael La Cour, managing direction of IKEA Food Services. “Thanks to engaged co-workers and the measuring solution, we see up to 30% food waste reduction already after a few months. I […] hope it can encourage others to start thinking about food as a precious resource.”

Ikea has also announced its membership of Champions 12.3, a global coalition for tackling food waste hosted by the World Resource Institute.

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