Some sources claim that about half of all the food produced in the world is wasted every year. That would be about two billion tons of food, worth billions of dollars. It’s a shocking statistic, and at the end of the day, it’s not just the supermarkets or food producers that pay the price. It’s all of us.
A new Israeli startup, Wasteless, hopes to help cut some of this waste with a new AI system that will transform how supermarkets approach food expiration dates.
“Food expiration dates are the main cause of retail waste and the cost is tremendous, both to business and to the environment,” says Oded Omer, co-founder of Wasteless. “Food is the single largest product in landfills, where it emits extremely harmful gases, including methane.’’
Wasteless, which was founded in 2017, has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) technology that can offer customers a variable pricing system based on a product’s expiration date. A carton of milk that is set to expire in a few days will cost less than one due to expire in 10 days.
It sounds simple, but the technology behind is not. The Wasteless pricing engine employs a branch of machine learning called reinforcement learning, which automatically maps inventory stock and time of day into a series of optimal prices.
According to israel21c.org, the system operates based on inventory, orders and sales, and executes pricing decisions that are then delivered to the end consumer via electronic shelf labels in the store or during the online checkout process.