iOS app that helps you reduce food waste and save money by keeping track of your food inventory.

Pocket  
Pantry

ROLE
TIMELINE
SKILLS
Product Designer (Personal project)
January 2021
(2 weeks)
Visual design
Interaction design
Product thinking

Context

Imagine scrapping 32% of your meal into the garbage before you even start eating. That’s a fair metaphor for Canada's household food waste problem.

The problem extends beyond a disapproving comment from mom. Food waste has drastic effects on the environment and the economy, trickling down to individual households and their wallets.

79 kg

$1766

11.8m tonnes

of food that could've been consumed
is wasted by the average Canadian per year

is the annual cost
of avoidable food
waste per average Canadian household

of wasted food in 2019 could've been "rescued" and sent to communities in need across Canada

Understanding the Problem

I’ve highlighted the top two problems surrounding household food waste:

1.)  Consumers lack self awareness when it comes to their actual grocery shopping needs

They buy too much food (don't check their current inventory before shopping), forget to use food in time, or mistakenly throw food out before the best by/expiration date.

2.) Consumers aren’t aware of the monetary impact of their actions

Consumers don’t believe throwing away food is a major source of wasted money. However, a John Hopkins study found that the strongest motivator to reduce waste is the prospect of saving money.

Based on the main problems I found, I constructed an overarching goal for my project.

The goal

Help people reduce food waste and save money on groceries

How?

By helping them monitor and use their food inventory before their expiration dates and providing positive reinforcement

Competitive Analysis

I compared how other apps (i.e. NoWaste, Fridge Hero, CozZo) tried to help people keep track of their food.

I appreciated features such as the ability to organize food based on their location (i.e. fridge, freezer), reminder notifications, and search functions. However, many of the apps felt confusing to navigate or extremely tedious to use for simple tasks (e.g. I was required to fill in many data points for one food entry). The combination of these felt tiring and unfeasible to use repeatedly in the long run.

Core Designs

Home Screen

The home screen acts as a hub of information. “Expiring Soon” cards provide people with a sense of urgency. Recommended recipes are generated based on current inventory to give people an option to act on that urgency. The progress ring displays the money that is “saved” by consuming food rather than wasting. The goal is to motivate people through positive reinforcements and provide a visual cue of their spending habits that they might not have been previously aware of.

Inventory Screen

I wanted to only display the most imperative information in each cell (food item, quantity, expiration date, location, and visual symbol) to avoid overwhelming users. Swiping left would allow them to choose an action and “consumed” is placed on the right due to its high probability of being selected each time. Items can be organized based on their location and filter hierarchically by expiration date, category, etc.

Adding a Food Entry

One of the biggest pain points with current inventory apps is the tedious and time-consuming nature of the data input process. To alleviate this, I designed an option for users to scan the barcode of a grocery item which would have the majority (or all) of the necessary fields filled out. Manual input would work similarly with auto-registered results occurring at each keystroke until the information is filled out.

Learnings and Challenges

With more time, I would've liked to:
With Pocket Pantry being my first design project, I learned a tremendous amount. Here are a few key insights:
🍎  Applying Apple's human interface guidelines for iOS design
I used Apple's resources to design a cleaner interface with native iOS components that many people are already familiar with.
✏️  Exploring different iterations
I pushed myself to design different options rather than adhering to my initial design. It made a world of difference and amounted to better solutions.
🥩  Reminding myself of the meat of the problem
I often got caught up with wanting to add more features, from grocery lists to food storage instructions to community tips on minimizing food waste. However, I realized that less is more!

Links to the images used above:

Food Waste
Paper Bag

Piggy bank

← Previous project