28.07.2021 - Food processing & retail, Startups, Technology

Rimi introduces AI Chef to tackle food waste

It is estimated that 20% of all food produced in the EU is wasted along the supply chain: on farms, in processing and production, in shops, restaurants and cafes, and households. To tackle this problem, educate and engage the public towards a more sustainable future, Rimi is introducing a digital tool called Empty My Fridge, which will use artificial intelligence to suggest recipes from the products in the user’s stock.

The new tool, which has been integrated into Rimi’s website in a beta version, allows the user to mark what products or leftovers they have available, and from these, the virtual chef suggests recipes that include the selected ingredients. The tool has been developed in collaboration with Danish startup Plant Jammer.

“Food waste remains a big problem,” says Liene Perija, Digital Development Director at Rimi Baltic.

A recent study by Rimi shows that up to 90% of people in the Baltics throw food away because it has spoiled after waiting for its turn for a long time. To reduce food waste in its operations, Rimi is investing in innovative technologies that help accurately forecast food orders and monitor ‘best before’ labels on products. Now, together with partners, they have found a way to help customers on their way to solving this problem too. 

“The innovative digital tool allows us to tell what’s left in our fridges and pantries with just a few clicks, and the AI chef does the rest, combining ingredients into delicious, healthy recipes,” says Perija.

The tool’s users can choose from an almost endless range of recipes such as stews, soups, pizzas, pasta dishes, salads, tacos, risottos, pies, casseroles and many more, suiting all tastes, including vegans and vegetarians.

Plant Jammer was founded in 2016. The Empty My Fridge app, on which the Rimi solution is based, is currently used by more than 200,000 people worldwide. Last year, the Danish startup attracted a 4 million euro investment from Miele and Dr. Oetker.

“We are not only trying to make it easier to find the answer to one of the most frequently asked questions, what to eat today, but also to encourage people to eat healthier, throw away less food and diversify their menus through the platform we have created,” says Michael Haase, founder and CEO of Plant Jammer.

Rimi and Plant Jammer got to know each other in the Future Hub accelerator, wrote Labs of Latvia. Alongside Empty My Fridge, there are plans to introduce an app that provides information on discounts on products that are about to expire. The solution has been developed by Luxembourg-based Food4All. Rimi will start testing it this autumn in Estonia.

“For the app to become popular, people need to be interested in such products, motivated to care for the environment in this way, and the discounts need to be particularly attractive. In addition, the app must be able to generate enough interest for customers to download it and start using it actively. If the pilot project in Estonia is successful, we will also use the app in Latvia and Lithuania. The app is already being used successfully in Luxembourg,” said Perija previously.

Rimi has set an ambitious target to halve food waste by 2025. The introduction of the new apps will help the company to systematically move closer to this target.

To promote the development of sustainable innovation, Swedbank Latvia, together with the open innovation catalyst Helve, established the Future Hub accelerator earlier this year, wrote Labs of Latvia. It is the first open innovation accelerator in the Baltics and is designed to foster collaboration between local companies and European green technology startups. Five Baltic companies, Swedbank Latvija, Latvenergo, Rimi Baltic Group, Orkla Latvija and Rīgas namu pārvaldnieks, joined the programme in March, putting forward their own business sustainability challenges.

To work with these companies, 160 startups from 40 countries applied to the Future Hub programme. From these, the Helve team selected the most suitable solutions for further cooperation with the companies. Over three months, the accelerator participants looked for solutions to different sustainability issues.

Source: labsoflatvia.com

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