Mealer is a system which includes an app and supporting products which facilitate people to manage, budget and regulate their food consumption.
The app accounts for the experience and preferences of the user and makes recommendations for recipes accordingly. By providing the incentive of helping users buy the right quantity of food to save money, mealer indirectly facilitates the reduction in over-purchasing leading to reduced food wastage.
Shadowing, Observation, Ethnographic Interviews, Design Research, Research Planning, Data Collection and Analyzing, Affinity Mapping, Idea Visualization, Concept Generation, Hand and Digital Ideation, CAD Modeling, Keyshot Rendering, UI design, Graphical Presentation of Concept, Thesis Defense
How might designers help inculcate sustainable consumption behavior around food that can help in reducing food wastage?
Every day there is an extensive amount of food being wasted in the households of the United States of America. The quantity of food being waste is so substantial that Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, metaphorically compares it to the volumetric size of the 90,000-seat football stadium in Pasadena, California.
Grocery stores, in order to make the shelf space look filled with fresh produce, they throw perfectly healthy albeit slightly disfigured produce in the dumpster without applying any reuse tactics. Bloom (2010) found that an average grocery store produces 2 to 3 tons of food waste per week, which roughly works out to 715 pounds of food daily. Similarly, the food supply system at one point or the other handpicks perfectly fine food and discards it.
Design for Sustainable Behavior
Design for Sustainable Behavior (DfSB) is an emerging field under the banner of sustainable design which aims to reduce product’s environmental and social impact by moderating how users interact with them.
- Tracy Bhamra, Debra Lilley and Tang Tang
The data collected from secondary research helped frame basic questions that would be appropriate to identify the pain points for the user identified. The questionnaire framed, followed a logical sequence of questions by dividing the activities done in the kitchen into individual sections. This approach is applied to each interview type for the primary research part. The primary research for this thesis comprised of Online Survey, Personal Interview and a Cultural Probe in Gulfstream Center for Design.
The premise of the thesis can be broken down into two objective directions: one focusing on food wastage and the other on design for sustainable behavior. The subject matter experts chosen to gain in-depth knowledge about each of the directions helped discover current developments and provided more information in regards to obtaining a further source of information.
Select Recipes On-The-Go
With the help of Mealer App, the user will be able to select recipes for a specific meal of any day. This also lets the user create a whole plan for shopping ingredients for a specific no. of days such that they purchase a specific quantity of food. Ultimately, a plan can be made to buy a specific amount of groceries leading to less food wastage and indirectly saving money.
The user can set allergies, preferences, and restrictions for every member of the family. The app accommodates planning for meals in a family. The user can create a family group that can make alterations to the meal plan based on the access provided the primary user. And based on the consumption of the user, the app can also provide nutritional statistics for the family, so that user can make meal choices accordingly.
Following the Plan
By creating a plan of meals for a set number of days, the frustration around what to cook reduces significantly. The user can also access the recipe steps directly from the planner. If there are any changes in plan, on updating the preferences in the planner, the app would provide an updated list of groceries for specific meals.