Reducing Household Food Waste

Why this problem space?

Food waste not only occurs at the production level but also when edible food is intentionally discarded by consumers after they fail to plan their meals properly or store food till it spoils or goes beyond the expiry date.

About 2/3 of household waste is due to food spoilage from not being used in time, whereas the other 1/3 is caused by people cooking or serving too much.

  • An average American wastes 25% of the food they buy

  • Food waste is a waste of time, money and electricity. 

The United States is the number one country in the world that wastes food. On average, every person wastes 400 pounds of food a year. 

Philadelphia needs 35,380,404 pounds of food a year to close the “Meal Gap” for people who do not have access to nutritious and affordable food.

 
 
 

Prior to research, I started with a 'How might we' statement that helped me question what I am solving. 

The Target

Most commonly, domestic food is discarded due to spoilage, leftovers on the plate or expired food and is wasted although it has been suitable for human consumption. 

 

Most common reasons for food being wasted:

  • using unsuitable or insufficient storage practices

  • out of date

  • confusing labeling

  • finding the food unsavory either to the nose or the palate 

  • forgetting to freeze food properly

  • cooking too much

  • simply not using leftovers

See the full research documentation here:

Findings

The research revealed core user problems behind food wastage mainly:

Forgetfulness leads to wastefulness: Users were buying groceries for the wake but failing to fully consume them.

Cooking but not consuming: Users failed to consume leftover food before it getting spoilt. 

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