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Food waste: AI supporting Accor hotels

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As part of The International Day of Awareness for Food Loss and Waste (September 29th), Accor is leveraging Artificial Intelligence and a joint measurement drive to go even further.

Reduction can only be achieved through precise measurement. To accurately quantify food waste and comply with shared standards, each property is encouraged to measure its waste using, Gaïa a dedicated online reporting tool unique to Accor hotels. This technology-based solution makes it easier for hotels to measure and monitor their energy, water, waste and carbon footprint performance, so that they can accurately track the impact of their sustainability initiatives. To date, 71% of the group’s affiliate, managed and franchised hotels, spread across 3,900 properties, have adopted this platform. The group plans to extend this to all its hotels with catering operations by 2025.

Within the IFWC, Accor is working to define a common methodology for measuring and establishing best practices to help reduce food waste in commercial and contract catering.

Brune Poirson, Chief Sustainability Officer, commented, “Accor has long been committed to transforming the way we work and to supporting our hotels and guests as they move towards more ethical consumption. To go even further, we first need to work on developing industry-wide standards. Accor is a committed member of the IFWC (International Food Waste Coalition), which is working to define and implement a methodology and targets for measuring and reducing food waste. Secondly, it is essential to roll out working, reporting and analysis methods based on a rigorous scientific approach. To achieve this, Accor is now leveraging the latest technological advances in Artificial Intelligence. Thanks to these two levers, the Group aims to exceed its targeted 50% reduction in food waste by 2030.” 

In average, almost 20 tons of food waste is generated per hotel each year, accounting for around 43% of a hotel’s total waste. While 45% of food waste in hotels comes from processing and excess preparation, 34% is due to food left on plates. The remaining 20% is the result of poor inventory management.

Accor is joining forces with three start-ups that leverage Artificial Intelligence to accelerate its transformation  

To help reduce waste at source, 200 pilot programs have been launched in properties that generate significant F&B sales.

Since 2016, Winnow Vision has been scanning and visually recognizing surplus food to obtain detailed data on its quantity and type, enabling teams to adjust menus and reduce food waste. The solution is currently being used in around 100 properties, including at Fairmont Jakarta, which has reduced its food waste by 16% (1.6 tons) in a single year, and Novotel London Excel, which has reduced waste by 39%, a reduction of12 tons.

Using Artificial Intelligence, Orbisk, a startup awarded the Accor Challenge at Viva Technology 2021, scans leftover food to obtain clear data on the amount and type of food being thrown away, helping to adjust menus and thus reduce waste. This has been used at Sofitel The Palm in Dubai, which has reduced its food waste by 13% in five months, corresponding to an 3 tons annually, and Novotel Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, which has cut its waste by 35%, the equivalent of 8 tons over two years.

Lastly, Fullsoon, a predictive management solution for restaurants, estimates the number of customers, the dishes that will be ordered and the exact quantity of ingredients needed to prepare them. This start-up emerged from our intrapreneurship program launched by the Innovation Lab. Through this initiative Accor enabled a Group employee to devote 100% of his time to bringing his idea to life, financing his project and creating his start-up before ultimately leaving the Group so that Fullsoon could take off. Damien Perrot, Global Chief Design, Technical Services & Innovation Officer PME, said,” We’re working to get 10 pilots up and running by the end of 2023, before rolling out to a large number of hotels worldwide, with the aim of optimizing F&B margins by 6% and saving an average of €800 in waste per hotel per month”. 

Changing habits

Sharing best practices for positively influencing the behavior of employees – and particularly chefs – is another point of action. The Group has designed specific training modules for its kitchen teams on the topic of food waste.

Improving customer awareness of the need to combat food waste is also an essential daily task for our teams: interacting, raising awareness and embarking on our journey to encourage them to adopt more responsible habits. Accor is also committed to selling uneaten food at reduced prices or donating it through a partnership we launched back in 2017 with Too Good to Go. In 2023, 137,116 baskets have already been collected from the 685 participating hotels, preventing over 345 tons of excess CO2 emissions and saving 137 tons of food from the trash can.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.