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Home Cooking

A recipe mobile app helping people to cook with the groceries that they already have at home - reducing food waste.

Productdesign.tips’s Design challenge:
Help people to reduce wasted food.
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My Role:

UX Design, Research, Interaction Design, Visual Design

Platform:

Mobile App

Personal Project

30- 40%

of all foods produced worldwide are wasted or lost somewhere along the supply chain

Production

Distribution

Retail

Consumption

30-50%

of the food people buy worldwide is thrown away.

For this project I focused on the issue of household food waste.

The Problem
Initial Research - Getting a grasp of the issue

I started by researching the issue to understand its magnitude, source and symptoms.

Food waste in Israel

Food waste is primarily due to the mismanagement of food purchase and consumption, usually caused by over-buying under the influence of consumption culture.

45%

of the total trash of an Israeli family is organic waste.

Reasons:

 Because

  • We don't want to risk eating food that isn't fresh when we see that the expiry date is about to pass or has passed

  • We decide we don't want to eat food we bought

Consequences

Food loss and waste may cause considerable socioeconomic and environmental damage:

Economic Value

$1.6 billion is wasted every year by buying land for agricultural work, growing, fertilization, and labor, not including the care expenses for the food post-disposal - and that's in Israel alone!

Environmental Damage

The misuse of land and water resources, as well as using pesticide and greenhouse gas emissions, ultimately harming the planet

Conclusions regarding food waste in Israel

With the right solution, awareness and therefore action will increase

  • Not necessarily being caused by a lack of concern, rather due to a lack of awareness

  • Negative and grand economic and environmental implications

  • Primarily due to the mismanagement of food purchase and consumption

User Research

I created the survey to pinpoint the target audience, hear their concerns and motivations, and to understand if anything can capture their attention to make them change their food consumption and waste habits.

Synthesized Findings
  • Effort: people try to minimize their level of effort (of course, this is subjective), so when they pass their limit, they typically prefer to throw away "spoiled" groceries and buy new ones

  • Budget: Many households have a budget that they want to adhere to - this could be used as a serious motivator for the users to use the app consistently

Competitive Analysis

All of the recipe apps listed below require users to enter groceries one by one, sometimes without a quantity restriction, whether by typing or checking boxes.

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  • Supercook • Allrecipes • Bigoven • Tasty • Magic fridge • KitchenPal

Person A

Person B

In a quick scroll through one of the apps, I found that the grocery list didn’t include all the desirable groceries, and searching for relevant items took a lot of time

Personas

Matan is a single young man with no children.

He is an amateur cook who likes to diversify his food consumption occasionally and is inspired by cooking videos that pop up on his Facebook feed

Michal is a married woman with 3 children.

She and her husband cook daily family meals and want to change up their menu without exceeding their monthly budget

How might I...?

Create friendly features to create an encouraging experience to reduce food waste?

Create friendly features that require minimum effort?

Reduce food waste in an average Israeli family?

Create a less technical and boring experience?

Conclusions for implementation & design

My UX research and competitive analysis helped me focus my design:

  • Reduce the user's level of effort through easy, intuitive navigation within the app

  • Simplify the user experience by minimizing cognitive overload and unnecessary steps

  • Increase the user's motivation and knowledge through engaging culinary information

Solution 

Design a mobile app allowing the users to find recipes based on the groceries that they have at home with minimum effort, enabling a varied meal plan while reducing food waste and unnecessary consumption.

Main Feature

A registered user can take pictures of their groceries in the fridge or shelves. A list of the identified groceries in the pictures will be created using AI.

After the user approves the list, the app will offer a variety of recipes, informing them if they need to buy any additional items.

How will the users benefit from it?
  • Saving Money

In Israel, the cost-of-living issue constantly appears in the headlines.

Proper food consumption management will prevent unnecessary disposal and purchasing so that the household will stick to a budget.

  • Environment

If an average family avoids dumping usable ingredients into the trash, environmental pollution will diminish. According to the University of Haifa, consumer contribution to the overall amount of waste is estimated at up to 50%.

  • Delicious, varied meals

A variety of recipes based on a list of groceries and food that at first seemed to be unusable.

General Flow
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Selected Wireframes

Result Screen

Recipe Videos

Difficulty level of the recipe

Groceries list

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Filters

Missing groceries

Final Design
Navigation

When entering the app, the user will directly access the camera. By swiping right, the user can go to the Shopping List, and by swiping they can go to their favorite recipes (My Recipes)

Take a Picture Feature

The feature will identify the groceries and make a list, which the user needs to approve. It was important to me to let the user feel in control by enabling them to edit the list manually

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Results Screen

The app will offer the user a variety of recipes while letting them know how many relevant groceries they have at home for each recipe or whether they need to buy additional ingredients

Also, a sheet with the groceries list will appear  at the bottom of the screen for quick editing

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If the AI won't be able to identify all the groceries in the pictures then the app will ask the user to help tag the missing parts, so it will keep learning and do better next time

Menu Screen

Each menu includes 3 categories of information: Groceries list, Instructions and Nutrition.

Groceries List
In this part, the user can see which groceries are included in the recipe and which of them they have at home. If the user doesn’t have all of the groceries, they can add what is missing to a shopping list for future use
In this part, the user is guided through step-by-step instructions that they can check off as they go
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By pressing the 'Step by Step Process' an additional screen will open in which the user can keep track after each step. 
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Instructions
Step by Step
Conversion table
By pressing the weigh-scale icon a Weight Conversion screen will open. On this screen, the user can easily conduct weight conversion.
I borrowed this concept from banking apps' exchange calculators which I changed into an interactive Conversion Table. By integrating this feature,
I removed the user’s cognitive load in a recurring task by automating the conversion for them. This means that they could get their questions answered within the app rather than relying on other tools or memory.
Shopping list
3

A shopping list that the user creates while using the app.  They can easily add recipes to the shopping list for a simplified grocery store experience

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