Three major hotel operators have pledged to cut down on waste and save one million meals by the end of this year.
Emaar, Majid Al Futtaim and Rotana have joined an an environment ministry drive to reduce the amount of food being thrown away.
Pictures of lavish iftars with glistening fruit, sumptuous meats, trays full of biryani and sweet treats are everywhere on social media in Ramadan. But, this year, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment sent a message by hosting an that featured lesser-used cuts of meat and over-ripe fruits that would usually not make it to the plate.
Minister Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi said: “I am pleased to reaffirm the UAE’s commitment to meeting the global target to reduce food loss and waste by 50 per cent by 2030. I am also pleased to announce that UAE-based hospitality companies are ready to take on the challenge to reduce food waste, and are pledging tonight to save one million meals by end-2018. This target will be increased to two million meals in 2019 and three million meals in 2020.”
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations estimates that one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year - 1.3 billion tons – is either lost or wasted. In the UAE, food wastage costs the national economy around Dh13 billion annually.
The event was hosted in partnership with start-up Winnow, which launched its operations in the UAE 12 months ago after participating in the Dubai Future Accelerators programme.
The firm connects large kitchens to the cloud and using digital scales and a tablet, chefs can quickly record food that’s thrown away. Teams then receive reports helping them pinpoint areas of waste and enabling them to cut costs.
In the past 12 months, Winnow has over 70 units deployed in hotels and catering sites across the UAE. On average, food waste is cut by half.
Marc Zornes, co-founder and CEO of Winnow, said: "We are really just getting started, and we look forward to scaling our impact with our partners as we work towards an ambitious target of saving over one million meals a year from the bin.”