Etihad Airways has partnered with Singapore food technology startup Lumitics to trial the use of computer vision and machine learning in order to reduce food wastage on Etihad flights.
The partnership will see Etihad and Lumitics track unconsumed Economy class meals from Etihad’s flights, with the collated data used to highlight food consumption and wastage patterns across the network. Analysis of the results will help to reduce food waste, improve meal planning and reduce operating costs.
Pilot scheme started before COVID-19
Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Etihad Airways started the pilot with Lumitics earlier this year before global flying was impacted by COVID-19, and as the airline scales up the flight operations again, it is exciting to restart the project and continue the work that had begun.”
“Etihad remains committed to driving innovation and sustainability through all aspects of the airline’s operations, and we believe that this project will have the potential to support the drive to reduce food wastage and, at the same time, improve guest experience by enabling Etihad to plan inflight catering in a more relevant, effective and efficient way.”
Tackling food waste is one of the “largest cost saving opportunities”
Lumitics’s Insight Lite product will track unconsumed meals from a plane when it touches down at an airport. Using AI and image recognition, Insight Lite is able to differentiate and identify the types and quantity of unconsumed meals based on the design of the meal foils, without requiring manual intervention.
Lumitics Co-founder and Chief Executive Rayner Loi said; “Tackling food waste is one of the largest cost saving opportunities for any business producing and serving food. Not only does it make business sense, it is also good for the environment. We are excited to be working with Etihad Airways to help achieve its goals in reducing food waste.”
Etihad Airways is a signatory to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations and has committed to the UAE Food Waste Pledge led by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. The pilot scheme with Lumitics is one of many sustainability focused initiatives undertaken by the airline, following the launch of its Etihad Greenliner programme, which is designed to help improve operating efficiency and sustainable practice through engagement with expert partners.