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Leading the fight against food waste

Marc Zornes (Co-founder and CEO, Winnow Solutions)

Food waste is becoming an increasingly hot topic. Worldwide a third of all food is wasted, whilst in the UK alone food waste costs the hospitality and foodservice sector over £2.5bn every year. Working with my company, Winnow, Compass Group UK & Ireland has been leading the pack in the fight against food waste, developing new technology which has the potential to transform kitchens within its business.

Like many of you reading this article, I share a love for food and have worked with food in some way for my whole life. I launched Winnow in 2013 with the simple belief that food is too valuable to waste, and that technology can transform the way we tackle this.

At Winnow, we track food waste by putting a scale under the bin, which is connected to the cloud, allowing the team to record what is being thrown away and save the data. We then send a detailed report informing the weight, the value, when and where the waste was generated. This gives chefs the information necessary to drive improvements in their production processes to cut food waste. 

Compass has been our closest partner right from the start. Our journey began shortly after we launched with a small pilot in the salad bar in a Restaurant Associates’ client site. The head chef there was already looking into ways to reduce food waste, but didn’t know exactly what and how much was ending up in the bin. We spent four months understanding their production process whilst sending detailed reports to help chefs drive change. From the salad bar, the Winnow system was applied to the entire kitchen and within six months food waste had been reduced by over 40% at the site.

Since then my team have worked with Compass in over 250 schools, universities, hospitals, military defence bases and staff restaurants. Together we have proved teams are able to consistently cut food waste in half. We have worked together to create groundbreaking new technology which has the power to revolutionise the hospitality sector by reducing food waste.

The Winnow system is now present in over 25 countries, preventing 10,000 meals from being wasted every day - and we are only getting started! This wouldn’t have been possible if Compass hadn’t supported us since the earliest stage of the Winnow system and help us to develop it into what it is today. 

Reducing food waste matters. When we waste food, we lose the resources that were put into the production process, such as energy, labour, and water, just to mention a few. So, by reducing food waste the sector is helping the environment and saving money at the same time. 

The relationship between Compass and Winnow is a great example of big business partnering with innovative start-ups. Together, we have the potential to change the culture in kitchens, transforming them forever.

Marc Zornes (Co-founder and CEO, Winnow Solutions)