In the US alone, the Department of Agriculture estimates 30 to 40 percent of food ends up in landfills. It's both an environmental and economic problem, with food waste being one of the leading causes of greenhouse gas emissions. A startup called Wasteless thinks machine learning can play a part in addressing the issue.
The company has developed an AI-powered system for automatically reducing the price of perishable food items as they spend more time on store shelves. The closer a product is to its best before date, the cheaper it will be to buy. And you'll see all of that reflected in the price tags grocery stores have on their shelves. After working on the system since 2016, Wasteless is about to trial its software with Metro, a company that operates 678 wholesale grocery stores in 24 countries globally. The two plan to initially roll out the technology to Metro's Makro stores in Poland before deploying it in other markets.
Wasteless claims its system reduces food waste in grocery stores by at least 40 percent. Over the next few years, the company believes it can increase that number to 80 percent with refinements to its technology. As you might expect, with an issue as widespread and significant as food waste, various organizations are trying to do what they can to help. One of the more notable teams working on the problem is Alphabet's Project Delta. The moonshot recently started testing a prototype computer vision system for use in commercial kitchens.