ayner Loi keeps a note on his iPhone with the details of the fruits and vegetables which go bad every week at his home in Singapore. That way, when he goes to the supermarket, he has a better idea of how much apple or bananas he actually eats in a week and can adjust his shopping accordingly.
He believes that individual actions such as this are important to tackle the food waste problem. Aber he also has his sights set higher. In 2017 he founded Lumitics, a company that tracks food waste on a commercial scale, with the aim of helping hotels and airlines that serve thousands of meals a day, figure out how much preventable waste they re- generate.
Lumitics uses garbage cans equipped with weight sensors, cameras and AI technology that can detect and track the type of food that gets thrown out — including whether it is dirty, uneaten or kitchen scraps.
Loi, CEO of Lumitics, says most chefs can t easily keep track of all the food that never gets eaten. Because of that lack of visibility, they find it very difficult to put in place strategies and craft measures to reduce food waste he says.
Lumitics customers use waste data to adjust the amount of food put on at a breakfast buffet or reduce on buying certain ingredients. Loi, 27, points to company data that shows he has helped the hotels he works with reduce food waste significantly, keeping more than 300,000 meals out of landfills in 2019.
That's not only good, it s green for the bottom line of a business plan. Hotel restaurants often operate on relatively thin profit margins, so any savings for them actually is really immense for their business, he says.
Loi and his small team are already working with major clients like the Four Seasons hotel in Singapore and to airlines including Etihad Airways.
Loi got the idea for Lumitics when, while working as a volunteer in rich Singapore, he saw children go hungry. He sees food waste as one of the most overlooked environmental problems facing the world. According to a draft 2021 World Wildlife Fund report, the more than 1.2 billion tons of waste food on the world's farms, and 900 million tons lost in stores, restaurants and homes accounts for a whopping 10% of global greenhouse emissions
Loi is expanding his ambitions beyond Singapore: Lumitics is working to operationalise next year in hotels in the Middle East and other cities in Asia. What we want to achieve is really tangible in terms of the amount of meals saved and the amount of carbon emissions avoided, he says.