19 March 2024

TUI BLUE relies on artificial intelligence to reduce food waste

In order to reduce food waste in hotels and also to improve the carbon footprint at the same time, the hotel brand TUI Blue is analysing leftover food with the help of artificial intelligence. What originally started as a pilot project will be gradually rolled out to other TUI Blue hotels this year.

In general, TUI Blue always aims to purchase food locally and in line with demand, but this method can be used to identify further opportunities for optimisation. Leftover food is weighed and analysed with the help of artificial intelligence. This year, the new process will be rolled out to a further 15 hotels in Germany, Austria, Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco and Croatia.

A pilot project to reduce food waste has already been launched at TUI Blue Meltemi (Santorini) in 2022. Last year, the methodology was successfully tested at a larger family hotel in Turkey, the TUI Blue Palm Garden: Over the course of July, waste was initially recorded, evaluated and analysed by the system as a kind of inventory. Over the following three months, the measures derived from this enabled overproduction to be reduced by around half compared to July.

TUI Blue is working with KITRO, which offers AI-supported technology in this area. Food waste bins are installed on a scale and fitted with a camera that only photographs the contents of the garbage can as soon as something new is thrown in. The artificial intelligence calculates the food waste based on the weight and the corresponding photo. The results can then be read out very clearly on a dashboard. The guests are unaware of this process, as only the restaurant and kitchen staff dispose of the food waste. And this method does not create any additional work for employees either, as no manual data entry is required. An important advantage for fast processes in a hotel kitchen.

Learning through food waste

The results can be used to make quick changes, as Stefan Nietsche, Corporate Executive Chef TUI Blue, explains: "We noticed that we were recording an increase in bell pepper waste in one of the waste bins in the preparation area. By simply adapting the cutting technique when preparing the vegetables, we were able to make significant savings and use the food more efficiently." The optimization of the cutting techniques can be applied to other types of fruit and vegetables. The method can also be used to gain insights into how the food should be presented on the buffets, when and how often it needs to be replenished and how large the individual portions should be in order to minimise waste. Another advantage is that the time of day when the food waste is measured allows conclusions to be drawn about the demand per time of day. "The aim is to make chefs and cooks aware and sensitize them to what is thrown away at the end of the day and how even small changes can contribute to reducing food waste," says Stefan Nietsche. The aim of TUI's sustainability strategy is to reduce food waste in the hotels by 25 percent by 2030.