Pare: An Interactive Food Waste App

Introduction

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According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, current food waste globally is at 1.6 billion tonnes annually. 1.3 billion tonnes of this waste is still edible. Global impacts include and are not limited to: 3.3 billion tonnes of GHG released into the atmosphere annually, 250km3 of water used to produce wasted food, 1.4 billion hectares of land used for wasted food, putting animal and plant species at risk, methane – more harmful than CO2 – emissions from landfills, and $750 billion in financial losses. Medium to high income areas will produce more food waste at the retail to plate level, and low income areas will produce more food waste at the production level. As documented by the Toronto Food Policy Council, in Canada, approximately 80% of all food waste was once perfectly edible. The following report will outline local food waste habits, as well as potential methods for cutting down on food waste using secondary research methods. Rettie et al. 2012 and Gollnhofer 2017 present normalization of green behaviour as a marketing approach to reducing food waste, likely a better approach for medium to high income areas. Current programs include not for profit organizations acting as intermediaries between retail and consumers, and Starbucks has implemented a FoodShare program for their US stores to change food waste practice. The final project implemented is a food waste website and interactive story meant to change perspective on the act of throwing away food, as an attempt to normalize proper disposal and recycling of food when it is still edible or requires composting.

 

Deliverables

  • Clickable prototype web app

  • Interactive element within the app

  • Case study documenting research

 

Process

  • Secondary research into food waste

  • Documentation of food waste cycle

  • Site mapping website

  • Wireframing website

  • Design prototype in Illustrator

  • Create clickable prototype in Invision

 

Context

When grocery stores put stock onto their shelves, they try to ensure that the customer is satisfied with the amount of product that they’re getting. With perishable foods, however, this can be a cause for food waste. As a consumer, we demand a certain amount of product to be had in a grocery store. With non-perishables, these items can be slowly restocked over time; there can be a consistent amount of product. With perishables, this turn around in stock happens at a higher rate, as the food goes bad. This means that in order to ensure that the customer is satisfied with the amount of stock, grocery stores will overstock their perishables, and end up with extra waste if it is not purchased. If they did not do this, the customer would be unsatisfied with the amount of product – as it would be understocked.

Grocery stores are not the only part of food waste, as much of the loss of food occurs before it even gets to the grocery store. Some causes of food waste in low income countries are poor packaging, lack of refrigeration, and inadequate market facilities. In high income countries, food waste is produced by food manufacture (i.e. producing another type of food from a raw food source), quality standards that cause food to be tossed, poor environmental conditions in displays, best before dates, leftovers, and a lack of focus and planning for the overall waste.

The approach of this project is to understand how food waste is produced at the consumer level, and to provide resources and awareness to the issue of food waste. At a broad level, many consumers are not thinking about the global effects of food waste, which is an increase in pollution and water waste. To combat this, the intent of the interactive media will be to provide an overall awareness of food waste and how it affects pollution levels on a global scale by targeting food retailers. By focusing on corporate responsibility in food production, social marketing can be used to encourage individual consumers to eventually take part.

 

Result

The final concept developed is an interactive piece that will encourage normalisation food diversion and recycling. It will outline current practices, as well as alternative practices with further explanation of the outcome of each practice.

Implications of this project are meant to point out the errors that have been made when setting up current food retail business models, which have been proven to be unsustainable practices. The throw away culture that exists in certain parts of the world have caused people to value convenience and inexpensive goods over a sustainable lifestyle. These are the habits that this program is attempting to reduce.

In Denmark, they have become one of the leading countries in reducing food waste through by way of government subsidies and lobbyist campaigns like “Stop Wasting Food,” created by activist and graphic designer Selina Juul (“How did Denmark become a leader in the food waste revolution?” 2016). So far, these campaigns have been widely successful in reducing the country’s food waste, and much of it comes from food retailers and the government. Normalising behaviour, such as taking home leftovers from the restaurant, were developed through rebranding. Now culturally, people aren’t afraid to participate in food loss prevention behaviours that would otherwise seem distasteful, making it evident that food loss prevention programs can work on a larger scale than small communities.

 

Rationale of the Interface Design

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This website is meant to attract food retailers, organizations and restaurants. The simple photography and sans serif type are an ode to more sophisticated, yet modern design styles, and are not overzealous in information to prevent from detracting visitors. Focusing more on the information, and portraying it as a “matter of fact” style is meant to attract those who may be hesitant to brand themselves explicitly as a green company. The focus is placed on the food itself, rather than any emotional component. The desktop design is more professional in appearance to encourage serious thought about the issue, targeting food retailers to educate their employees over directly teaching consumers the proper behaviour.

Clear type and information based in strict research is also intends to inform the food retailer on new information in the food loss program, as well as effecive strategies that are already in place, such as Starbucks’ FoodShare program.

“Pare” as a brand name for the food loss program was chosen to allude to trimming down, reducing, and to the act of using a paring knife to cut produce and other foods. The swirl on the end of the “p” is also created in likeness to that of when an apple is peeled.

 

Interface Design

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Home 

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Interactive Component

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Walkthrough

Created with Invision