Read the full story at Smart Planet.
Chances are, when you were a child you never dreamed of making it onto the 20 Most Influential list in Foodservice Director magazine. Andrew Shakman never did, either, but his arrival on that 2012 ranking was an acknowledgement from the industry that his efforts to curb food waste — through his 10-year-old company LeanPath in Portland, Ore. — have gained traction.
The statistics about the problem that Shakman seeks to address are staggering: globally, one-third of all food is wasted. The United States alone trashes 40 percent of what it could consume: in fact food waste is the single biggest component of landfills. No single approach will solve the crisis. If you think “crisis” is hyperbole, consider the United Nations finding that the environmental impact of the 1.3 billion tons of food that goes to waste around the world each year makes the industry the third largest carbon dioxide emitter, after China and the United States. But Shakman has found a way to use information technology to change the way that foodservice workers think about waste.
LeanPath’s core offering, LeanPath 360, is a touchscreen tablet linked to a scale and camera unit. Before tossing food into the trash, the system requires food service workers to place the items to be discarded onto the scale, log into the application, select the items being trashed and note the reason they are being thrown out — such as overproduction, spoilage, expiration, or food trim techniques. The camera snaps an image of the items and sends it, along with the corresponding data, to a cloud-based database. Think of it as Facebook for rejected food.