How might we educate consumers about food waste and help them seamlessly integrate resourceful food habits in their daily routine?
Food is often wasted when it can still be used.
The goal in our team of four was to reduce food waste by creating awareness and educating the public on how to make use of food at different stages in the life span.
There are different reasons for food waste, such as people not knowing how to make use of food at different stages of their life spans, or produce looking damaged or bruised being passed up at grocery stores in favor of flawless-looking produce.
We explored what has already been done in this area:
- Discovering “Save The Food” informed our decision not to focus our efforts on simply making an app or website educating consumers on how to re-use food, since it is already being done
Analysis of the Customer Journey
We analyzed consumer trends from the Food Waste Meta-analysis Study and mapped the customer journey in three primary stages:
We concluded that there is not as much work being done to eliminate the problem at the source. We decided to focus our project on the beginning of the problem, the Grocery & Marketplace.
We conducted surveys with grocery shoppers to learn more shopping behaviors and what drives their decisions on which produce to purchase:
“My mother taught me how to select the best vegetables for certain recipes and as far as fruit I usually go for ones that are not ripe yet so they can last throughout the week. With vegetables I check for any spots or discoloration”
“I don’t choose fruits that appear to be spoiled, spotty, or bruised because they are more likely to spoil quicker, and are not as good to eat”
We based our final product on innovative active packaging systems that are used to keep food fresh and monitor freshness:
We designed prototypes that in the future would be made with Intelligent Packaging material. We also included our invention of a Smart Sticker with a freshness meter that monitors freshness and informs consumers of the stage of produce and what they can do with it at each stage:
Sketches and Storyboards
First Round Prototyping
Second Round Prototyping
Our final prototypes include two small boxes to house berries, a bag to carry medium-sized fruits such as oranges and lemons, and a large case with a drawstring to store larger fruits such as melons and cantaloupe:
In the ideation phase, I did research, conducted customer surveys and created storyboards. For the final product, I worked with a teammate to edit the demo video and I created the UI Kit for our packaging prototypes:
Although we initially started with the idea of building an app or QR code for customers to scan and learn about food re-purposing, our project direction changed with research and customer interviews.
The direction we took became more of a futuristic scenario because the materials we would have used are expensive and some are still experimental. If we had more time and a budget to work further on this project, we could have been more effective by creating the packaging with real Intelligent Materials and then testing the actual effectiveness of the packages on customer habits.