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Indians Leading the Global Food Waste Reduction Fight Somdip Dey, an AI scientist, and Suman Saha, a computer engineer, have harnessed the power of technology to tackle food waste through their revolutionary app, Nosh.

By Jitender Bhagat

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Somdip Dey delivering a keynote talk at the 2024 York Festival of Ideas

In a world grappling with the twin crises of food waste and food insecurity, two Indian innovators are making a significant impact on the global stage. Somdip Dey, an AI scientist, and Suman Saha, a computer engineer, have harnessed the power of technology to tackle food waste through their revolutionary app, Nosh. Their journey from personal hardship to pioneering leaders in food waste reduction is a testament to resilience, innovation, and the transformative potential of technology.

Somdip Dey's path to becoming a global advocate for food waste reduction is rooted in a deeply personal and challenging experience. In 2014, while pursuing his master's degree at the University of Manchester, Somdip faced a dire situation. His parents were involved in a severe car crash in India, which left his father in a several-month long coma and severely paralyzed. With his mother struggling financially, Somdip sent his savings and monthly salary back home to cover their healthcare and living costs. This financial strain left him with barely enough to survive.

During a particularly desperate week in July 2014, Somdip resorted to dumpster diving to find food. He scavenged through campus bins at the student accommodation, discovering in-date edible items like apples and oranges. This humiliating yet eye-opening experience exposed him to the staggering amounts of food waste even in environments like student accommodations. It was this period of hardship that planted the seed for what would eventually become a groundbreaking solution to a global problem.

In 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, food waste became an even more prominent issue as households grappled with food insecurity and disrupted supply chains. Leveraging his painful experiences and insights, Somdip, alongside his collaborator Suman Saha, co-developed the Nosh app. The app was designed to help consumers reduce food waste within their households by intelligently managing their food inventory.

Nosh app allows users to track the expiration dates of their food items, receive reminders, and access recipes based on the ingredients they have on hand. This not only helps in minimizing food waste but also assists in better meal planning and grocery shopping. The app's user-friendly interface and practical functionality quickly gained popularity, leading to the establishment of Nosh Technologies.

Nosh Technologies, a deep tech company co-founded by Somdip and Suman, utilizes advanced AI and machine learning to tackle food waste along the entire Agri-supply chain. Their innovative approach has garnered significant attention and support, including grant funding from Microsoft and Innovate UK. The latter was awarded to Somdip as part of the Innovate UK Unlocking Potential award, which has been instrumental in further developing the Nosh app's features.

Among the new features introduced are fitness planning and carbon emissions prediction. The fitness planning feature offers users personalized workout plans, integrating fitness with dietary habits, thereby promoting a healthier lifestyle while reducing food waste. The carbon emissions prediction feature provides insights into the environmental impact of food consumption and wastage, empowering users to make more sustainable choices. These features were showcased at prestigious events such as the London AI Summit and the York Festival of Ideas.

Somdip Dey has become a prominent voice in the conversation about sustainable technology and food waste reduction. At the 2024 London AI Summit, part of the London Tech Week held on June 12th, Somdip delivered a keynote talk titled "AI for Earth: Towards a Greener Future – Evaluating AI's ESG Footprint." In this address, he highlighted the critical role of building AI solutions that are both safe and sustainable, emphasizing AI's potential impact on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives. He also introduced the carbon emissions tracking feature of the Nosh app, set to be available later this year.

At the "Making Sense of the Food System Through Stories" event, part of the 2024 York Festival of Ideas organized by the Living Lab, Institute for Social Justice at York St John University, Somdip gave another keynote talk titled "Influence of Technology on Food Waste." Here, he unveiled the fitness planning feature of the Nosh app, which is already accessible to Android users. These speaking engagements not only highlight the advancements of Nosh Technologies but also reinforce Somdip's position as a thought leader in the field of sustainable technology.

The journey of Somdip Dey and Suman Saha from personal hardship to global recognition is nothing short of inspiring. Their commitment to reducing food waste through innovative technology has the potential to make a profound impact on both individual households and the larger global food system. By addressing food waste, they are also contributing to broader sustainability goals, including reducing carbon emissions and promoting healthier lifestyles.

As they continue to develop and refine the Nosh app and explore new technological solutions, the duo remains focused on their mission to make the world a more sustainable place. Their story serves as a powerful reminder that innovation often springs from adversity and that technology, when used thoughtfully and responsibly, can drive significant positive change.

In conclusion, the work of Somdip Dey and Suman Saha exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit and the drive for social impact. Their efforts are not just reducing food waste but also paving the way for a more sustainable future. As they lead the global fight against food waste, they inspire others to think creatively, act responsibly, and contribute meaningfully to the world.

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