Etihad teams up with tech startup to reduce inflight catering wastage


Etihad Airways is trialling a system designed to use computer vision and machine learning to reduce infight food wastage. The trial is in partnership with Lumitics, a Singapore-based food technology startup, and will track uneaten economy class meals from Etihad’s flights, with the collated data used to highlight food consumption and wastage patterns across the network. The results will be analysed to help to reduce food waste, improve meal planning and reduce operating costs.

Lumitics’ ‘Insight Lite’ system will track unconsumed meals from a plane when it touches down at an airport. Using AI and image recognition, the system can differentiate and identify the types and quantity of unconsumed meals based on the design of the foils covering the meals, without requiring manual intervention.

“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,” explained Mohammad Al Bulooki, ChOO of Etihad Aviation Group. “We believe that this project will have the potential to support the drive to reduce food wastage and, at the same time, improve the guest experience by enabling Etihad to plan inflight catering in a more relevant, effective and efficient way.” 

Lumitics chief executive Rayner Loi added, “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.”

Lumitics’ ‘Insight Lite’ system uses AI and image recognition to differentiate and identify the types and quantity of unconsumed meals, based on the design of the foils

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Ever since his first flight on a TriStar, Adam has loved air travel, and since becoming editor of the Aircraft Interiors International brand he has really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the latest aircraft and airline products before they are even launched. Adam co-ordinates the running of the magazine, from commissioning articles and artwork, to ensuring that high standards of quality are maintained, as well as managing online content. Adam is proud to sit on the jury of the Crystal Cabin Awards and to have laid on the bed in Etihad's Residence.

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