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Helping Users Reduce Food Waste

In collaboration with a team of three other UX/UI designers, I spearheaded a concept project focused on addressing a critical issue - food waste. Our collective goal was to create a mobile responsive website tailored to empower conscious consumers in minimizing the amount of food they discard. This case study delves into the design process, challenges faced, and the ultimate solutions crafted to enhance the user experience and promote sustainable habits.

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As a member of a small agile team, I touched all facets of this project from creating research screeners, conducting research, synthesizing collected data, participating in ideation and execution of design (wireframing, prototyping, etc.). I was also responsible for the creation and documenting of our process in our final project report. 

Project Type



2 Week Sprint

(May 2023)


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How we came up with our project objective...

Our project parameters was to create a mobile responsive website that helped the conscious consumer reduce food waste in their homes.

In order to begin we set out to answer the question of "how might we provide a means that helps the conscious consumer invest in and increase their capability and agency when it came to food waste reduction measures"?

Project Goals 

  • Understand our consumer goals, needs and frustrations about reducing food waste, with focused touch points throughout the entire shopping, cooking and storage journey.

  • Create a platform that will be useful to both a one person household or a larger household (family, roommates, etc.)

Design Opportunities

  • Using the entire journey of food shopping, cooking and storage, reimagine the process in iterative stages to provide solutions along each step of the process.

  • Devise a solution that works in conjunction with our user's current habits, but don't demand they change their habits - rather give them tools to optimize. 

  • Identify and offer value to instituting a new platform into our user's food life cycle journey. 

Understanding our problem space, goals and opportunities, we set forth to achieve success by utilizing a UX/UI methodology which began with research and would hopefully lead us to a successful delivery to our users. 







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Testing & Delivery

Who is our target audience and how can we leverage them in our research?

We began the research process by undertaking user interviews that would lead to clarity of their goals, needs and frustrations when it came to food waste. 

Prior to identifying specific individuals, we created a screener survey in order to ensure our audience was the "right" audience who not only were eager for a solution to reduce their food waste, but also were in the position to benefit due to their shopping, cooking and storage habits. 

We distributed the screener on social media such as posting in facebook groups, creating individual LinkedIn posts and linking to the screener through Instagram stories to cast as wide of a net as we could. 

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Parameters for "Screening In" an interviewee:

  • 5+ meals cooked per week

  • Meals are cooked from shopping, not from meal-kit companies

  • 1x minimum grocery shopping per week

  • Grocery shopping includes buying perishable items

User Research: What are food conscious consumers saying?

We interviewed 5 consumers, of which all met the "screening in" parameters

  • Consumers varied from how many people they were cooking for per meal, ranging from one person to six people per meal.

  • All consumers admitted to have thrown out perishable items that expired or were no longer edible within the past 7 days of the interview. 

Examples of questions we asked...

Do you shop for specific meals or just to generally restock your kitchen?

Which foods do you have the most trouble finishing before they spoil?

When was the last time you found yourself throwing out old unused food?

How does it make you feel when food in your kitchen spoils?...Why?

What are challenges you face  to use food in a timely manner?

Do you have a system or set of practices to avoid letting ingredients in your kitchen spoil?

What we heard from user's to further empathize with them

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I shop with the intention of getting stuff for a recipe, and think I'm going to make something new. Often I don't make the recipe and the item gets thrown out eventually.

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I'll often buy a bag of lettuce mix with the intention to use it - sometimes I don't get to it in time before it gets old, but I know that isn't uncommon.

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I feel wasteful when I throw food out but I don't really want to eat food that doesn't look fresh. I know I can just get more the next day.

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I'm generally looking at expiration dates because I try to stay away from products that expire quickly. 

Making sense of everything we heard from users

Gathering all of the collected data from our user interviews, we distilled this raw data into similar themes/categories looking for insights. Documented below are different themes/categories we were able to uncover through affinity mapping.

Affinity Mapping

Saverie: Affinity Map

Of these themes/categories, we decided to focus on the most relevant themes that we would use to solve for our target demographics goals, needs and frustrations. From those themes we were able to glean actionable insights. 


People need extra motivation to improve food waste management habits. Preferred motivation has clear impact: saved time/money/energy


People are more concerned with their time and money than they are with the ethical concern of wasted food


Every interviewee has a strategy to prevent food waste but they are simple and readily available (i.e. freezing foods)


Interviewees intend to eat everything they buy but often food spoils for various reasons


Although people intend to use everything they buy, they often purchase more than they know they may need for the convenience of having it on hand

How can we further empathize with user's pain points, needs and goals? 

Developed from an amalgamation of all our research where we defined the needs, challenges, and goals of our target audience uncovered thus far, we creating a single, fictitious "persona" in order to further empathize with their challenges, enabling us to full immerse in our users mindset. 

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We then mapped out the process that our persona would experience as he goes about his food shopping, cooking and storage journey. We learned Jonathan's pain points, frustrations, and emotional experience through each step, in order to identify design opportunities within each touchpoint of the platform.

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Identified Design Opportunities

1. Create easily accessible and straightforward strategies

2. For a higher chance of adoption, supply solutions that provide time, money, or energy savings

How do we translate our research into practical design?

Taking all our accumulated takeaways and insights, we ideated and prioritized features that would be incorporated into our concept and solve for our user's pain points, goals, and needs through design.

We began this process by entering into a 'design studio' with parameters in place to have our research directly dictate and inspire our Lo-Fidelity (hand-drawn) designs.

The outcome of our design studio were multiple features that we conceptualized that would directly address a consumers goals, needs and frustrations around food waste, as well as incorporate our identified design opportunities. Below, we prioritized features using two matrixes. 

Feature Prioritization Matrix

Feature Prioritization Matrix

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MuShCoWo Matrix

MuShCoWo Matrix

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Where our matrix analysis led us to focus on

Leftover Best Practices

Equip users with the knowledge of how to best prolong the shelf life of their perishable items

Item Recipe Ideas

Provide the conscious consumer with recipes that incorporate the items they already have at home, that may not last them much longer.

Alternate Saving Methods

Educate consumers beyond themselves and their needs, sometimes the best option is to give it to someone who will use it before spoilage occurs. 

Inventory & Shopping List

Organize the user to the point that they won't over-shop and add to unnecessary waste to their food and wallets. 

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Mapping Information Architecture

Creating a Mid-Fi Prototype for Testing

Best Practices User Flow Prototype

Inventory & Shopping User Flow Prototype

Community User Flow Prototype

Mid-Fi Wireframes

Mid-Fi Testing & Results

Testing three separate scenarios and tasks given to users, we analyzed the overall UX Design and UI incorporated into our website. User's performed all tasks with very limited friction, however when we asked the user to explain the overall purpose of the website we found that most users couldn't identify "food waste prevention", as the scope of the website seemingly exceeded our problem space and extended into supplementary uses which were unintentional. 


We realized while our feature ideation and prioritization was accurate to build a full fledged website, it spanned too broad a scope to clearly illuminate the specific value proposition to the user. Many of our features were “nice to have” but weren’t relevant to our value proposition.


We began to refocus our features by conducting additional feature prioritization activities to assure our persona’s needs were being met in a defined, focused manner, without cluttering the design with essentially “bells and whistles,” which added no value to a food conscious consumer looking to minimize their food waste. 

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Mid-Fi Testing Iterations

1. We discarded the ability to find any recipe and changed the recipe page to only populate by item selection, in order to cook what you already have instead of recommending a recipe that might require buying more ingredients 

2. Eliminated meal prep feature as we didn't have research to fully validate that meal prepping actually reduced waste

3. Concentrated our "Community" page on food donation centers, as local market locator was important but not within the scope of our problem 




Fully bringing our designs to life...


Based on our testing results of the Mid-Fi designs we set out to bring our website fully up to Hi-Fi by incorporating all our iterative changes and adding iconography, images, font type, color and other elements of our bespoke style guide. We also created a unique brand identity with a name and logo, now naming our website Saverie - a play on "saving" and the palette quality many foods inherently have. 


We also established breakpoints within our design that would make for seamless readability and usability within the viewport of any device. 

Desktop Homepage

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Mobile Homepage

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Wireframes, Annotated.

Best Practices

Storage for Products

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User selects "Best Practices" to learn how to best store food for optimal freshness & longevity

User selects "Storage for Products" to learn how to best store raw ingredients

User selects from multiple categories of food types (vegetables, fruit, meat, etc) which populates an itemized list of individual products

User's journey is complete when they receive information on how to properly store the product they selected

Best Practices

Storage for Leftovers

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User selects "Best Practices" to learn how to best store food for optimal freshness & longevity

User selects "Storage for Products" to learn how to best store cooked foods

User selects from multiple categories of food types ( meat, pasta, seafood, etc) which populates an itemized list of individual products

User's journey is complete when they receive information on how to properly store the product they selected

Cooking & Shopping


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User selects "Cooking & Shopping" 

User selects "Recipes" to learn how to best utilize ingredients they have available

User selects from multiple categories of food types( meat, pasta, seafood, etc), which populates an itemized list of individual products. As they select ingredients, recipes populate based on those choices

Once a user selects the desired amount of products they can then choose a recipe that incorporates the chosen products, often helping them use perishable items before spoilage

User's journey is complete when they view the selected recipe

Cooking & Shopping

Inventory (Same UI as "Shopping List"

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User selects "Best Practices" to learn how to best store food for optimal freshness & longevity

User selects "Inventory" to view a list of their current food inventory at home

User can view list of current inventory as well as add and delete items. Deleting is accomplished by pressing the item button which provides options of adding quantity or deleting. Adding can be done by utilizing the product's barcode or by manually inputting the item. 

If a user selects the camera/barcode button on the slider they are able to scan the items barcode to add the product to their inventory list

If a user selects the pencil button on the slider they are able to manually search and select items to add the product to their inventory list


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User selects "Donate"

User selects "Donation Center Locator"

In order to offer an alternative option to limit food waste, a user's geolocation informs an API map and listings of the nearest donation center

Hi-Fi Testing Results

After bringing our design to Hi-fi we found that users had improved percentage of task completions, timing of completion and overall understanding of our websites value proposition compared to testing our Mid-Fi designs.


+30% from Mid-Fi Testing

Avg Task Completion


-:22 from Mid-Fi Testing

Avg Time of Completion


1.5 from Mid-Fi Testing

Avg Task Comprehension

*Scale: 1= Complex; 5= Simple

Project Retrospective 


Final Thoughts

Reflecting on our this UX/UI concept project, I'm most proud of the ability to iterate dynamically, guided by our research insights, which was a pivotal force in ensuring the authenticity of our solutions. We faced challenges head-on, thinking on our feet and making decisive decisions that ultimately contributed to an ideal user experience. A standout accomplishment was our keen eye for feature selection – discarding elements that didn't align with user needs, resulting in a purposeful and streamlined design.


Our meticulous approach to crafting a user-optimized experience through photography, iconography, and copy showcased a commitment to intuitive design. Overcoming the challenges of an abbreviated timeframe demonstrated our resilience and adaptability, proving that deadlines could be met without sacrificing quality.


The simplicity we infused into the platform didn't compromise its value; instead, it offered users a seamless integration into their daily lives, providing tangible benefits in terms of energy, time, or money expended. This retrospective serves as a testament to our collective dedication, creativity, and the human touch we brought to delivering an exceptional user experience.


For the project research report, spec documents, prototype, presentation or other documentation send a request to or click the button below.

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