Food Management App, Service Design
Frigal is a left-over management app linked to local food supply service that helps solo-living young adults reduce food waste and nurture proper food shopping habits in the long run.
Helping solo-living young adults manage and reduce food waste
Frigal is a food-management app linked to local food service, aiming to cultivate reasonable food consumption habits among young people and help them tackle cooking leftovers. It lets you know what you can make with the scraps and suggests extra ingredients for you to purchase, if necessary.
This is a side project that we crafted out of interest, which ended up being a candidate for Amazon Catalyst. We intended to reexamine the issues of food waste from micro-scale and design a solution that could be scaled up to help a larger population with future efforts.
Feb - May 2017 (9 Weeks)
Over the course of 9 weeks, we crafted Frigal, to help solo-living young adults reduce food waste and manage their grocery shopping. Throughout the process, we actively engaged the target user population by conducting user picture interviews and 2 rounds of usability tests to understand their needs and to inform the design decisions. Also, thanks to the support of Amazon Catalyst for student projects, we were able to better assess the feasibility of the concept and tie in the commercial service from Amazon Go and Amazon Fresh to produce the ideal experience.
What is the Problem?
Cooking Leftovers for Solo-Living Young People
In a nutshell, we all know that food shopping for one is tricky. While rising number of single-person households may have numerous implications for the economy, it also signifies a shift in consumer behaviors and changes in lifestyle trends. Food waste due to inappropriate consumption habits and insufficient knowledge about food is especially prevalent among solo-living young adults, according to a study conducted by Food Marketing Institute (FMI).
The young, single shoppers tend to buy too much since grocery shops and local markets do not sell single-serving ingredients. Taking into account that our users were very conscious about environment protection and food waste, we attributed the issue primarily to the misalignment between the need of solo-living shoppers and the excessive supply of food.
Why Frigal But Not Other Services?
Deal With Food Waste from a Micro-Scale
Although reducing food waste has been a hot topic, from our competitive analysis, we realized that the solutions were mostly designed for restaurants, households with multiple members, and grocery shops. While some existing applications teach customers how to store food correctly (e.g. StillTasty) and how to make dishes with leftovers and scraps (e.g. BigOven), none of them address the pain points of grocery shopping as a single shopper. Why not tackling the food waste problems from a micro-scale instead of only focusing on the bigger population? With growing numbers of single-person households in the United States, it is the time to better understand how single individual food shoppers make their grocery shopping decisions and how we can help them manage ingredients with personalized data and smart suggestions tailored to their needs.
User Pictures Interview
We conducted 6 user interviews with solo-living young adults to learn about their food consumption habits as well as their strategies and attitudes around cooking leftover. Combining aspects of photo ethnography and interviews, this method allowed us to ground conversation with artifacts. Our participants shared stories based on the photographs they have taken, specifically, photos of what was inside their fridges.
All the particpant expressed their frustration over food waste, which they did not know how to avoid. They have grown into the generation that shared the uneasiness of being environmentally unfriendly, and were eagerly seeking for eco-friendly lifestyle. Moreover, to our surprise, the millennials who juggled life and school, cared more about the price of time than the cost of food. They also prioritized the quality of food before budget.
We spent one week to dive deep into our research findings and have uncovered a few major pain points shared by them. Solo-living young adults are impulsive and bulk buyers who want to save time on food shopping and cooking, so they stock up on food that are always packaged in larger amount than they need. Later, even though our users feel guilty about throwing the scraps away, they have insufficient knowledge about food to help them cook and manage those leftovers.
Taking into account all research findings, we envisioned a happy-life scenario of a solo-living young person being capable of making use of his leftover ingredients aided by his pal, Frigal, and the food supply service linked to it. We mapped this plot into the following storyboard.
To clarify the flow and inform low-fidelity prototype, we sketched out the interactions, organized and digitized them into a user flow before wireframing. The flow can be roughly divided into 3 parts: onboarding, view recipes and shop. In each stages, we endeavored to address the pain points uncovered in user research and design an experience that was reflective of our initial goal to solve the problem of food waste from micro-scale.
2 Rounds, 6 Participants
We selected 4 specific moments in the interaction flow that we either find particularly significant or potentially confusing for the usability tests. In 2 rounds of guerilla tests with 6 participants, we were able to observe how our target users perceived the interactions, and to glean their insights on the concept of Frigal. The tests greatly helped to solidify our design decisions before we dive into high-fidelity prototype.
Generate Recipe - Round 1
Dragging ingredients to the recipe strip was not intuitive - Dragging single item to the the recipe bar doesn’t make sense to them. 2 out of 3 users tapped on both items together and wanted to click on recipe icon to get recipe suggestion.
Users tapped on ingredients, hoping to see more information or see more actions- 2 out of 3 users tapped on ingredients to “see more information” or “see more actions”
Generate Recipe - Round 2
The "Recipes" in the navbar could be misleading - 2 out of 3 users went straight to recipes to look for cooking inspiration when they could have accomplished that within the screen by putting the ingredients they want to use up into the "cookbook" to view recipes specifically for these ingredients.
Remove Expired Item - Round 1
Tapping on “clean” first was not intuitive - 3 out of 3 users didn’t click on the clean button to reveal the secondary screen. 2 out of 3 users clicked on the ingredient first and expected that they could click or drag the ingredient to the clean button. 1 out of 3 users was used to the iphone design pattern - swipe left for more options.
Remove Expired Item - Round 2
NOT REALLY : ) - 3 out of 3 users successfully completed the task.
View Recipe & Cooking Timer - Round 2
NOT REALLY : ) - 3 out of 3 people found the interface and interaction of the recipe screen clean and intuitive. They also favored the idea of having the timer feature for cooking steps that requires accurate timing, e.g. baking.
Meal Plan - Round 1 (Concept) & Round 2 (Interaction)
The position of the progress bar makes it confusing - 1 out of 3 users mentioned that she was not sure if it denoted her progress or how many additional ingredients she needed to buy.