People usually go grocery shopping with the intent of using what they’re buying. The truth is, that doesn’t always happen, and a significant amount of their food will end up in the garbage.
We all know that an exorbitant amount of food is wasted every day, so we wanted to focus on how households can reduce their waste. During our research, we found that almost 1 trillion dollars worth of food around the world is wasted every year. This equates to over 1.4 billion tons of food. The US and Canada alone waste $250 billion worth of food.
Studies show that Americans in particular often impulsively buy food, and they unrealistically assess what they need, causing them to purchase more food than necessary - much of it ending up in waste. Not only does this affect our finances because we’re spending on things we’re not utilizing, causing us to spend more, but it also affects our environment. Researchers found that one third of the food individuals buy ends up in landfills or combustion facilities.
By reducing wasted food, people can:
Current solutions to reduce food waste includes:
While these solutions can be helpful, for someone that doesn’t plan well or gets disorganized quickly, this might not be a solution that’ll work for them.
User pain point + feedback
Meet Sam, a 27-year-old young professional that lives with his fiancé. Sam dreads grocery shopping and cooking dinner. He never knows what to make with what he has, and even more so, he’s frustrated and disappointed because he’s constantly wasting food. When Sam does go grocery shopping, he’s constantly wandering around the grocery store, unsure of what to buy because he never knows what he actually has at home - so he ends up buying things he doesn’t even need. He hates that his actions not only affect the environment negatively, but he’s also wasting money.
Landing on the solution
We decided on creating a platform that keeps track of your groceries & shows you what to make with them because we realized that for users to understand how much food they are wasting, they need to know what they have, when it goes bad, and how to utilize it before it goes bad. Since many people have their phones with them at all times, the easiest way to get people to use this product is by creating a mobile app or progressive web app. This also allows users to use the app while they’re out shopping – which helps to remind users what they already have, thus reducing the amount of groceries they purchase and waste.
Explanation of solution
Back to our friend Sam. Sam searches for a solution that’ll help him keep track of what he has and how to use his groceries and discovers the Pantry App. Sam goes through the initial set up and a walk through of how to use the app and realizes how easily this app can help him. Sam starts off by creating an account with his email address.
Once created, he goes over to his pantry and starts inputting the groceries he has, along with the category, quantity, and expiration date. He then does the same thing to the groceries he has in his fridge and freezer. Sam is relieved because he knows this inventory list will help him purchase less when he’s out shopping! It’s almost dinner time so of course, Sam wants to figure out what to make. He has a huge list of groceries in his Pantry list but is unsure of what he should make.
Thankfully, the Pantry app has a feature that’ll create recipes using the ingredients inputted into the pantry section. Sam realizes there is a filter that’ll also allow him to choose the type of cuisine he wants. He narrows down his recipe list to Italian food and finds a Linguini with Clams and Garlic Butter Sauce – sounds delicious!
Sam clicks on the recipe and finds a list of all of the ingredients he needs to make the Linguini, along with the nutrition information and the instructions on how to make it. Sam loved the recipe so much that he clicks the “Love” button so he can favorite it to use again later.
Sam is relieved that not only did he make a great dinner, but he’s also using up some of the ingredients that he otherwise would have forgotten about.
Lo-fi and hi-fi mockups:
I learned that you need to be intentional with your curiosity. Understanding why the problem is a problem will lead you and your team to the best solution.
I learned that even if you think the process is going smoothly, in a matter of minutes, you can be behind, and that's okay because problems do arise.