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Mobile Narrative/storytelling Product design Sustainability

Food Conscious: Better You, Better Planet

FoodConscious is a mobile app that helps users become more mindful of the food they buy, consume and let go.


Zeal Sheth


Adaora Udoji


One-third of the food produced around the world gets wasted. Globally, food production contributes to 25% of greenhouse gases (GHG) emission [1] that is responsible for global warming. 17% of the food produced gets wasted at the consumer level (ie. retail, households or restaurants) of which 61% gets wasted at home. In conclusion, around 10.4% of all the food produced gets wasted at home, globally [2].   In USA food waste nears to 40% [3]. Of which food waste occurring at home can account to 31-39% per home [4]. Accounting to a total of 119 billion pounds, approx. 1 lbs per person per day[1][3] and around $2400 for moderate spending household of 4. ($2000 for low-cost, $1670 avg. this include undernourished population too) [5][3]. In the last century, the proportion of animal-based products in our diet has increased drastically. To meet this requirement which has led to 3X resources use (land, water, CO2 emissions) for food production per calorie [6], creating serious negative impact on the planet. Considering we are at the tipping point of climate change, if we continue to manage food production and consumption the same way, food production alone can consume almost our entire carbon budget required to keep climate change <2 degree celsius (with 67% probability) till 2100 as per the 'Paris Agreement-2015' [7]. To deal with the problem I believe it is necessary for the people to become more mindful about the food they buy, consume and let go and its impact on the environment they live in. FoodConscious is a mobile app that attempts to make this difference. The apps helps user reduce food waste and make more eco-friendly and sustainable food choices. App's different features like fridge leftover items reminders, finding relevant recipes with key ingredients, storage tips and customized shopping list help users reduce the food waste happening at home. Features like Nutri-scores, Eco-scores make users aware of the health and climate impacts of the food they consume and help them make informed sustainable choices.

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My research was broken into four areas. The first was about understanding the problem of food waste, its impact, its urgency. The second was to understand the impact of food eating choice on the environment. The third was about understanding the behavioral science, persuasive design and gamification. The fourth was about understanding how to designing the experience to create hope, encouragement and reinforcement.

Technical Details

The app in designed and prototyped in Figma. After doing the initial primary and secondary research on food waste, I designed the LoFidelity wireframes to test my solution concepts. I implemented the concepts of rewards, dynamic social norms and encouraging copywriting for my app. I testing it with 8 users.   My key learning from user testing were, Users found logging  tracking of groceries a very tedious task and there was not enough meaningful reward for the activity. Users found Recipe finder feature very useful to find recipes. Users found fridge reminders useful. Users found the direct relation between their food choices and positive impact on the planet very reinforcing. With these learnings I designed my final HiFidelity Prototype as below.   Key features, Fridge item reminders. Recipe Finder with Key ingredients. Know nutritional value and ecological impact of each ingredient. Eat seasonal suggestions. Auto-manage groceries by integrating store purchases or scanning receipts.  

User Testing of LoFidelity PrototypeAll Screena