How Lufthansa Industry Solutions is looking to use AI to reduce food waste

Airlines and their operators around the world have been criticized for a lack of action regarding the reuse and recycling of their cabin products. However, many airlines have taken measures to address the waste generated by commercial flights. These initiatives include reducing the use of single-use plastics (SUP), eliminating magazines on board, and offering amenities only upon request.

But the much bigger problem is food waste. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the airline industry generates more than six tons of waste on planes annually. And 20-25% of cabin waste is untouched food and drinks. This is not a good look for an industry with big sustainability promises. So what is the solution?

Today’s video is simple

possible solution

An IT consulting firm and 100% subsidiary of Lufthansa, Lufthansa Industry Solutions, is currently developing an AI-based solution that detects untouched or partially eaten foods as well as any unwanted supplements.

The airline will use AI food detectors to take pictures of the food trays returned after each flight. These images will then be analyzed by an AI computer vision system, which will identify components of the meal that were not fully eaten. The system will also measure the weight of leftovers, giving a clear idea of ​​the amount of waste generated.

This new system will help the airline tailor their meals to the specific needs and preferences of each flight, reducing the amount of food returned. It will also identify any quality issues or less popular food choices, allowing the airline to make improvements where necessary.

The technology is being developed in collaboration with Lufthansa Group Clean Tech Hub, Lufthansa Airlines, Swiss and Eurowings Discover, as well as Lufthansa Industry Solutions (LHIND).

It’s not ready until 2024

Commenting on Simple Flying, a spokesperson for Lufthansa Industry Solutions said the company’s AI-driven solution to reduce food waste on board is currently in development and has just passed its Minimum Viable Product (MVP) stage at the end of last year for evaluation. feasibility and potential impact. Commenting on the upcoming solution to reduce food waste, a Simple Flying spokesperson said:

“Currently, a Lufthansa airline task force is preparing a roadmap for the project, which includes further pilot testing over the course of this year. Lufthansa Industry Solutions sees reducing food waste as one of the key themes and a significant contributing factor to being able to reach its sustainability goals. environmental.”

However, Lufthansa’s Food Waste AI will likely not be available before 2024. The company still needs to provide specific numbers on how much waste reduction it can achieve. However, preliminary estimates indicate that the application of the technology could save 5-10% of the total food produced for flights, added Lufthansa Industry Solutions.

Lufthansa flight attendant

Photo: rl_foto/Shutterstock

It is worth noting that Lufthansa is not the only one looking into this technology to reduce food waste. Other airlines, such as Emirates and Etihad Airways, have also committed to reducing food waste on board by applying similar AI technology.

  • Tom Boone 169

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    Airline type:
    full service carrier
    Frankfurt Airport, Munich Airport
    Year Founded:
    Star Alliance
    Airlines group:
    Lufthansa Group
    Carsten Spoor