Gulf Food Innovation Summit to Address How Technology to Curb Middle East's Food Waste Dilemma
- Launch Summit to probe ‘Smart Kitchen’ advances as global land used to grow food that is never eaten is now roughly the size of Mexico
- 40 per cent of the UAE’s total waste is derived from food
Dubai, UAE, 5 February, 2019: The Middle East’s F&B industry needs to enthusiastically embrace advanced technology to help fight the region’s growing food waste dilemma, according to experts due to address the first-ever Gulfood Innovation Conference in Dubai next month.
Speaking ahead of the Summit, which will run at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from February 18-20 as part of the five-day Gulfood exhibition, two leading experts on food waste have urged the region’s F&B players that only disrupting traditional working and operational practices will combat the problem.
The call came from Michael Ellis, Chief Culinary Officer of hospitality giant Jumeirah Group, and Michael Barsties, Head of Food Waste Heroes Programme of the ground-breaking Olio mobile app for food-sharing. The pair will both join a Summit panel on ‘Foodtech in the Kitchen.’
The advent of the ‘smart’ kitchen would go a long way to hugely improving industry efficiency, believes Ellis: “There are two areas where smart kitchens can have an enormous impact: firstly, by reducing the amount of repetitive manual labour that is a big part of much of food preparation, and secondly by reducing food waste, which is to some an extent an issue for most kitchens today. These innovations will come about both by developments in kitchen equipment, but also in the use of data mining techniques to allow chefs to anticipate how many of a certain dish will be ordered on a given day based on historical trends,” he said.
Ellis, who works across Jumeirah’s international portfolio of 23 hotels, added the widespread hi-tech adoption in smart kitchens will put the region on the road to achieving zero waste. “At Jumeirah, we are looking closely at all aspects of the kitchen and raw materials management. With the scale of our operations and the commitment to excellence we have to each and every dish, this is a major area of interest for us. Whether it is inventory control, HAACP implementation, JIT ordering, or elsewhere, food tech is the key to more efficient and quality food operations.”
Global land used to grow food that is never eaten is now roughly the size of Mexico
With the industry facing up to a raft of next gen technology, including the Internet of Things (IoT), Barsties believes the industry is facing a major evolution in both commercial and private kitchens: “There’ll be total disruption by bringing the internet into the kitchen. Interconnectedness such as AI and IoT will have the biggest impact in the kitchens of the future. The bin could record what you're wasting and inform you on your next shop that you probably should buy less of a product because you consistently throw away most of it. The fridge suggests what to eat based on the expiry dates of the food in it,” he explained.
And Barsties is adamant advanced kitchen technology is no longer an option. “Technology helps us discover and eliminate inefficiencies which often mean a waste of resources. Given these are finite on our planet, we should start using them more wisely - this also includes the land we use to grow food that is never eaten, which is roughly the size of Mexico.”
40 per cent of the UAE’s total waste is derived from food
With food waste one pressing F&B industry issue to come under the Summit spotlight, a recent report by engineering solutions firm Danfoss estimated that 40 percent of the UAE’s total waste is derived from food, while in Saudi Arabia alone, the economic impact of food waste is USD13.3 billion per year.
“Food waste across the region has surged in recent years due to a huge increase in the number of hotels and restaurants,” explained Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Exhibitions & Events, DWTC. “Regionwide this has now led to the launch of initiatives to tackle the problem. In the UAE, for example, Dubai plans to be the first city in the region to achieve zero food waste through the UAE Food Bank. It’s important that F&B professionals in the region understand the issue and they role they can play in its solution.”
The inaugural Gulfood Innovation Summit will see more than 40 industry experts from across the Middle East, India, Europe, the US and Africa take to the stage to probe the hottest topics impacting the F&B industry locally, regionally and globally. The Summit will also see the unveiling of a Global Social & Economic Outlook for the F&B industry, fireside chats with celebrity chefs and market outlook reports for Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Kenya.
Summit heads Gulfood 2019 features
The Summit is one of eight new features integrated into Gulfood - the world’s largest annual food & beverage trade exhibition – which this year celebrates its 24th edition. Innovation is the byword for the 2019 show which will run at the DWTC from February 17-21 and take up more than 1,000,000 square feet with 5,000 exhibitors promoting a vast range of new products, concepts and technology.
With a packed exhibitor house and vibrant new features, DWTC is confident that February 2019 will see the show attract upwards of 98,000 attendees from 198 countries. Together with Gulfood’s well-established features of Halal World, for the global F&B halal market, Discover Zone, which highlights industry innovation and the CEZVE/IBRIK World Championship, DWTC has widened the show’s scope and capabilities as it heads towards its 2020 silver anniversary.
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