A mobile app that can help home chefs easily keep track of the food, spices, and condiments in their kitchen, leading to a reduction in food waste often caused by overbuying and fast approaching expiry dates.
A mobile app that will help home chefs easily keep track of the food, spices, and condiments they have in their kitchen, leading to a reduction in food waste caused by overbuying.
According to the statistics on food waste, nearly 40% of food is wasted in America alone. (1) One of the things that contribute to this issue is when home chefs buy something they already have, which means it takes them more time to use the item, potentially leading to the product expiring and being thrown away.
One of the biggest concerns for the U.S. now is the issue of global warming, and one of the biggest contributors to this problem is food waste, as it emits methane (2) when placed in landfill. This is concerning because in comparison to carbon dioxide, methane is “80% more potent at warming the climate system than carbon dioxide” (3). 100% of the people surveyed in the user research said they did not have any tracking method for their pantry items and 75% of surveys said they only made a list sometimes before shopping.
The problem is that there needs to be an easy and effective way to keep track of items in the kitchen so that when the individual is at the grocery store, they can quickly reference this database before purchasing. In my user research surveys, one individual had said that she would like to “be able to have a collection of all the brands and types in one place on her phone, making it easy to pull up.” 2 other individuals would like to see some kind of expiry date tracker or reminder.
A survey was conducted to see how users currently kept track of their kitchen inventory. 100% of people did not have a method of tracking their kitchen inventory and only 75% before shopping, instead they would often just go to the store and buy whatever they could remember was needed.
In the survey, users were also asked to identify potential features they would find useful, and the most common responses were expiry date trackers and a camera feature.
Landing on the Solution
The solution is a mobile app that users can use to quickly log their food purchases and easily keep track of what they have on hand. This way they can easily reference what they already have at home when at the grocery store without relying on making a list beforehand.
Explanation of Solution
Get Spicy’s goal is to help consumers make more educated decisions when grocery shopping in an effort to help reduce food waste due to overbuying or because it expired before the food was able to be used.
By keeping track of the food better and even providing ways to use up food before it goes bad, consumers will be able to see how their choices make an impact on greenhouse emissions.
In the user surveys, most of the users say that while what they currently do isn’t the best option, they are ok with the system they have now, so the first big step is to find an engaging way for customers to use the app. The process needs to be as simplified as possible and offer multiple ways to log new purchases. Another aspect to include could be some type of reward system to incentivize users to utilize the app more often.
Product Manager Learnings:
Esther H. Tsao
I was really able to gain a greater understanding of the product manager role, and apply what I learned in the classes. The hands-on approach is one I prefer as I believe it really solidifies the things that are learned.
It is important for the product manager to focus on the overall picture, and the entire process is very iterative. It made it easier to take steps forward knowing that I wasn’t expected to come up with the perfect solution in the first go, but that the problem space was an area of exploration that would be revised multiple times in order to clearly define.
As a product manager, the most important thing is to focus on the users and the problem, don’t hold onto a single solution, but let the problem space and your customers define and guide your product.
Lastly, user research is very important to get right, asking good questions will lead to a strong product that customers find useful.