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Stop Food Waste Day 2019: Catching up with Winnow!

Marc Zornes, Founder, Winnow Solutions

Food waste is a major issue and one that kitchens around the world are struggling with. Globally, a third of all food never reaches our plates. Food waste is also an unnecessary financial burden for food businesses. It costs commercial kitchens between 5% and 15% of all food purchased, with some kitchens wasting up to 20% of all the food they buy.

It is a common misconception that most of the food waste in the hospitality and food service sector comes from the customer’s plate. In an analysis of more than 450 kitchens, we found that more than 70% of food waste happens before it gets to the customer. This happens because chefs often lack the right tools to give them the necessary information to control their kitchens.

I founded Winnow with the belief that food is too valuable to be wasted. At Winnow, our mission is to help the food service and hospitality industry cut down on food waste by making the kitchen smarter. With the introduction of digital tools, chefs are now able to automate many of the administrative tasks required to measure waste. This gives teams better visibility while also freeing up time for chefs to get back in the kitchen.

Thoughts about working with Compass

Compass has been working together with Winnow since we launched, almost six years ago. We first trialed Winnow in a single Restaurant Associate’s staff restaurant in London. At that time, our system consisted of only a tablet wrapped in plastic next to a scale. It was quite primitive, but it worked. In this restaurant, we learnt that when food is prepared in advance, most food waste happens because more food is cooked than the customers are able to eat. This restaurant also taught us that when given the right tools, chefs can cut food waste in half.

From this test, we then began assembling a team to build and scale Winnow. Now, we are present in almost 40 countries, saving our clients over $33 billion dollars per year. And, we have just launched a ground-breaking AI-enabled product, Winnow Vision, that uses machine learning to recognise different foods being thrown in the bin and calculates it’s financial and environmental cost. Compass Group UK&I has helped us create technologies that have the power to revolutionise the food service and hospitality sector by reducing food waste. For that, we will always be grateful.

The journey so far

Winnow has been implemented across key areas of Compass’ business including staff restaurants, universities, military bases and hospitals. The Winnow system has shown that sites which take action to manage waste can cut food waste in half or more. As a result, we are now live in Compass sites internationally: UK, Ireland, Singapore, Hong Kong and the UAE.

In its latest corporate social responsibility report, Compass UK&I commit to ambitious milestones in the Food Waste Reduction Road-map to halve UK food waste by 2030; and is also a signatory of WRAP Courtauld 2025.By addressing the issue of food waste, Compass is leading the way on how companies should address this challenge. We are proud to be helping them reach their target.

Views on Stop Food Waste Day

Winnow is proud to be taking part in Stop Food Waste Day 2019. To celebrate the day we went to St Faiths School, in Cambridge - UK, to learn how the kitchen team is reducing their food waste while helping raise awareness of food waste among the pupil. We’ll soon publish a case study video with the Kitchen team and the children studying at St Faith’s.

Last year, as part of Stop Food Waste Day, we caught up with Thom Barker, Executive Chef from Chartwells at The University of Bournemouth where food waste has been significantly reduced. During an interview to Winnow, Thom said: “With Winnow, we’ve identified that overproduction is the main reason why we were wasting food. Based on that, we learned how to work with a tight production level to make sure we were cooking the right amount of food. I can’t be everywhere all the time, and technology is much more accurate than humans. Winnow’s tech captures all of the food waste within the building and has helped me gain more control over my kitchen.”

 We would encourage everyone to visit www.stopfoodwasteday.com and take the pledge to make every day Stop Food Waste Day.

Plans for the future – what we're excited about working together on

Innovative organizations are becoming aware of the opportunities lying in food waste reduction. By preventing food waste, businesses can save money, help the environment and set themselves ahead of the competition by raising their profile as a sustainable brand. Compass Group is leading the way to respond to accelerating demand from customers to address sustainability issues. With Winnow installed in over 260 sites, Compass Group UK & Ireland is saving 3m meals a year.

We look forward to keeping on helping Compass UK & Ireland reach their food waste target, and also, we hope to see this initiative inspiring other countries to follow their example.


Marc Zornes, Founder, Winnow