World Food Day: Hidden Cost of Water in Food Waste

Posted by Elena Sokolova / 16-Oct-2023

Winnow Blog (11)

This UN’s FAO World Food Day, the theme is: Water is life, water is food. Leave no one behind. The fact is, water is essential to life on Earth. It covers the majority of the Earth's surface, makes up over 50% of our bodies, produces our food, and supports livelihoods.  From farm to fork, water is a key ingredient in every meal we enjoy. The amount of water it takes to produce just one kilogram of food is astounding. Though it largely varies by a variety of factors such as by the farming method and type of food, a report by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers on  Global Food revealed that it takes 15,139 litres of water to just produce one kilogram of meat. Even bread consumed 1,509 litres and 287 litres per kilogram, respectively. Clearly, when we squander food, we're wasting not just a meal, but a significant volume of water.

This is why reducing food waste is so important and touches many parts of the food system, including water. Today, we would like to celebrate a few water-side resorts that do their part to help preserve the Earth’s water and have commendable efforts in reducing food waste.
The Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo is a luxury resort that has recently reduced their food waste by 50%. Four Seasons Costa Rica is increasingly creating a more sustainable relationship with food and, by extension, water. Between August and December 2022, the visionary kitchen team used Winnow’s Artificial Intelligence technology to halve food waste in two of their kitchens. This monumental effort has saved 40,000 meals from ending up in the landfill and allowed the resort to reinvest $46,000 in exquisite, locally-sourced ingredients for an unparalleled guest experience. This goes on top of their other sustainability efforts, with initiatives throughout the property and the destination like coral restoration projects and partnerships with local farmers. Executive Chef Emiliano Rabia Sottil  noted: “I feel a strong connection with the earth. we have to go back and give back to the Earth to enrich it. In the end, it’s a virtuous cycle. It feeds us and we have to feed it “

Similarly, Iberostar has spearheaded a Wave of Change campaign, ensuring that sustainability is at the heart of their operations. This showcases their ambitious commitment to the oceans and their lead on responsible tourism. This includes going waste free by 2025, and carbon neutral by 2030, which includes food waste. They’ve already made great progress, where they effectively slashing food waste by 28% across 40 hotels in the first half of this year. Megan Morikawa, Iberostar’s Global Sustainability Director, has said: “Our partnership with Winnow is a testament to our commitment towards a waste-free future. It is truly inspiring to see our chefs embrace the program and create tangible change. This achievement reinforces Iberostar's position as a leader in creating a sustainable travel industry.”

On Spanish shores, Playacapricho Hotel from Senator Resorts has recently partnered with Winnow, acknowledging the importance to not only protect the environment, but to also optimize business operations. As Gabriel Morell Luján-Williams, Vice President of EMEA Operations at Senator Hotels has put it: in addition to seeing the costs saved on reducing food waste, reducing food waste is imperative for “another ethical reason: we cannot afford to waste resources, we must only consume what is needed.” This partnership is a great step forward to further combating the food and water crisis at hand. 

At Winnow, we hold the simple belief that food is too valuable to waste, and by extension, so is water. According to the FAO, agriculture accounts for 72% of global freshwater withdrawals, while freshwater resources per person have declined 20% in the past decades. 2.4 billion people struggle with water stress, requiring immediate action. While there’s more to be done, this World Food Day, we’re really proud of businesses like Four Seasons, Iberostar and Senator Resorts who are laying down the roadmap towards a more equitable use of water by tackling food waste.

Comment on my blog

Find out how much your kitchen could save

Recent Posts

Subscribe to Email Updates