LAS VEGAS (AP) — Avocados can be tricky. Their ripeness window is so narrow that many memes have made fun of the art of deciding when to eat them.
Dutch entrepreneur Marco Snikkers is trying to solve this problem with an avocado scanner designed for use in supermarkets, unveiled at the CES tech show in Las Vegas this week. It uses optical sensing and his AI technology to determine ripeness and displays on screen whether an avocado is hard or edible.
Snikkers startup OneThird isn’t just trying to alleviate frustration in the kitchen. According to the United Nations, about one-third of food is wasted worldwide. That means all the carbon emitted in growing, shipping and distributing that food was wasted.
“This is a big problem,” Snikkers said. “This is his trillion-dollar problem for our world, with huge implications for CO2 emissions and water use.”
OneThird is one of several startups working to solve different pieces of the problem at CES this year. For example, from helping the food industry limit waste to providing rapid composting solutions to keep food scraps out of methane-producing landfills.
OneThird is already working with growers, distributors and others along the supply chain to predict the shelf life of avocados, tomatoes, strawberries and blueberries. Later this year, we will further expand our ability to determine the ripeness of more produce, with the aim of reducing the amount of food that is wasted around the world. And this month, it’s testing a consumer-friendly avocado scanner in a Canadian supermarket.
Another Dutch entrepreneur, Olaf van der Veen, is working to help restaurants reduce food waste. Much of the food waste occurs in the kitchen before the meal is served to the customer.
His device, Orbisk, uses a camera placed above the trash can to scan for food that he is about to throw. Van der Veen says that not only the type, amount and time of day of food, but also “seeing whether it’s on a plate, pan or cutting board provides contextual information about why it’s been lost.” You can get it,” he said.
Orbisk organizes and shares its insights with restaurants to help them understand waste patterns, thereby saving money and reducing food waste, thereby reducing emissions and water usage. can be reduced.
The startup’s devices are installed in commercial kitchens in about 10 European countries, with some clients as far away as India.
He said there is more food waste per restaurant in the US than in Europe, even after surplus food is donated. We hope to further expand the initial market.
Reducing the amount of food that is wasted is desirable, but the next best thing is to keep it out of landfills.
When food waste is properly composted, it releases carbon dioxide as part of the biological process that transforms it into nutrient-rich soil. When food is trapped in landfills, the decomposition process produces methane. It is a powerful greenhouse gas that makes a significant contribution to global warming, as it delivers a short-term punch more than 80 times stronger than carbon dioxide.
The 2006 London Protocol banned the dumping of food waste into the sea and prompted South Korea to set up a mandatory composting system. Yes, but residents must carry food bags to designated roadside bins.
Reencle is designed to make that process easy. Shown at his CES this year, the metal bin is a super-fast composting system that helps reduce one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of food waste by 90% in just 24 hours.
The product has sold tens of thousands in South Korea, but Reencle’s parent company Hanmi Flexible wants to expand into overseas markets, said marketing director Jinhwi Bang.
why are you so fast This device uses self-replicating microorganisms to turn scrap into compost. Reencle says it can compost the byproducts directly, whereas competitor Romi grinds and dehydrates food waste, which requires the byproducts to be mixed with soil before composting.
Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste, said he hopes people don’t think composting requires advanced technology.
But he says he understands that not everyone has a garden or patio and that “every tool in your toolbox should be on the table.”
Technology is part of the solution. But Murray says economic incentives and systemic change are other key factors in reducing the world’s food waste.
“We need to make food disposal more expensive,” he said. “This will create incentives for commercial companies, restaurants, stores and even consumers to invest in systems and technology to stop wasting food.”
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