Ramadan, a time when people around the world come together in the act of fasting, can draw attention to the issue of world hunger and food wastage concerns. During this month, JA Resorts & Hotels announces the roll out of cutting-edge food wastage technology across 7 hotels, which is set to drastically reduce food waste and landfill contributions.
During a pilot programme in the award-winning JA Beach hotel, the hotel team have managed to reduce food waste by 81%, which is the equivalent of almost 35,000 meals in less than a year. This was achieved through a successful partnership with Winnow, a tech company which launched in the United Arab Emirates in 2016, specializing in food waste management.
“Reducing food waste benefits everyone. We save money, we minimize our contribution to landfill waste, while staying acutely aware of the world around us and those less fortunate. We are announcing this in Ramadan, a month when many are concerned about food waste and motivated to make positive changes, however this project runs throughout the year. Our guests care about the planet and we want to continue to respond to that by doing the right thing,” said Vice President of Food & Beverage, JA Resorts & Hotels, Rob Cunningham.
Winnow technology helps chefs run sustainable kitchens by harnessing the power of data, through smart technology. Simple and intuitive to use, the Winnow Waste Monitor comprises of a digital scale and a connected tablet. Using any bin or trash can, team members throw food away in the usual way. The weight is recorded automatically and then the user selects the reason and identifies the item/dish using the tablet. Winnow’s daily reporting then gives chefs total control over their kitchen by pinpointing which items are being wasted.
The system is so effective that JA Resorts & Hotels has pledged to roll out the programme in 7 of its hotels across Dubai and Maldives by the end of June 2019. Any remaining food waste is then ideally used for compost, for example in the JA The Resort Bio-Garden, where the team grow fruit, vegetables and herbs for farm-to-table use in the extensive portfolio of 23 restaurants and bars.
Food waste has been on the global agenda in recent years, as it became more widely known that one third of all food produced ends up being wasted – the equivalent of 1.3 billion tonnes per year. Food waste costs the UAE an average of Dh13 billion per year and research has found that restaurants are the main source of food waste in the UAE. The UAE has taken a leadership position in the global fight against food waste and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) has committed to saving 3 Million meals yearly by 2020.
JA Resorts & Hotels food wastage initiative comes hot on the heels of another pledge to drastically reduce plastic waste by September 2019, through the installation of new on-site water treatment, cleaning and glass bottling systems.
Ignacio Ramirez, Winnow’s Managing Director MENA added, “We are on a mission to connect the commercial kitchen, create a movement of chefs and inspire others to see that food is too valuable to waste. It is a privilege to work with such a forward-thinking hospitality chain as JA Resorts & Hotels and help them further improve their responsible processes in their food and beverages offer.”