foodate

Date your food.

foodate, a personalized mobile application which helps households monitor the shelf life of their food and avoid wastage due to spoilage.

Use Case

Zara visits Walmart biweekly for her grocery purchases. After getting introduced to foodate, she signs up with the service at a Walmart store. Next week she’s at the store getting the 35 items she bought, billed. The cashier scans each item and the quantity, which gets updated on Zara’s profile. She goes home and foodate begins tracking the shelf life of all her groceries. She gets updates everyday of food ingredients closest to their shelf life she has in stock. To update the ingredients she cooks, all Zara has to do is press the microphone button, and speak out the name of the ingredient she used. With this, Zara just saved wasted income she usually throws out along with that spoilt tomato rotting in the fridge, and above all the world by merely: dating her food.

Potential

foodate leverages high usage of smartphones in building an app that is easy to use and situation adaptive. Information is fed into the app via a quick bar code scan and tracked through a voice recognition system or a quick manual entry. The app will inform users about the shelf life of food on a weekly basis, predicted through environmental factors and expiry dates. It provides users with recommendations on recipes based on ingredients that are closest to their spoilage date, modified based on personal preferences. Collaboration with retail chains to embed this app in their loyalty programs also helps user track and redeem points based on purchases made. foodate is about empowering an average household to implement a solution to world’s food wastage problem with the use of a simple app.

Business Case

foodate is a mobile application available on the App Store, Play Store, Blackberry and Windows Store. It will partner with grocery stores, subject to the country or region, to support its operations. In Canada, foodate will partner with major retail food chains such as Walmart, Loblaws, Costco, Sobeys and No Frills etc. The food retail chain’s loyalty program will be tied-in with foodate, a partnership incentive, which customers can also use to track points collected on every purchase. foodate will be implemented at the store’s point of sale system which will record all data required by the app. foodate will also serve as a CSR initiative by these retail chain outlets as an effort to reduce global food wastage at the domestic household level.

Objectives:

  1. Reduce food wastage: By helping household trace the shelf life of their food real time, thus avoiding throwing food due to spoilage.
  2. Increase food savings: By capturing and protecting household spending that is routinely lost in inefficient food management systems.
  3. Incentivize corporations: Through the tie-in loyalty program, to get involved in reducing food wastage and promoting buyers to do the same.

Team foodAte

Toronto, Canada

Our Team

WE DID IT! / Published January 9, 2016 by Nishita Agrawal

WE DID IT!

Finally, this is what our product entails!

foodAte

How does it work?
foodAte works in two versions. An application for the mobile which is to be used by the consumer and a program for retailers. Before purchase of items, the consumer gives his/her foodAte number to the shopkeeper who updates it on their program. This automatically establishes a link to the user’s profile where in all purchased items would be updated as the cashier scans them. foodAte would only register the items categorised as eatables hence eliminating cosmetics or other general household purchases. This is an automatic process which makes the usage of the system hassle free for the retailer as apart from updating the number there is no additional workload added.

Once the purchase is updated, foodAte starts tracking the shelf life of food and would give notifications accordingly to the user to cook or eat the food before its expiry.

Features of the app:
1.) Universal profile: foodAte in order to be used just needs to be installed in the respective retailers’ store. Once installed, then regardless of the retail store (be it Walmart, Nofrills, etc.) users just need to provide their foodAte number and their profile would get updated accordingly.

2.) Barcode + RFID technology: foodAte recognises items scanned using both the barcode and RFID technologies which makes it compatible with a greater number of grocery stores which can use the program.

3.) Environment diagnostics: The app gives updates of shelf life for both fresh produce and packaged food. The expiry dates of packaged food are automatically picked up from the scanned information and updates to the user are delivered accordingly. However, for fresh produce, the app has been fed in with researched information regarding average shelf life of different food items. However, to make the updates more accurate, the app works alongside a built in thermostat which helps the app customise its alerts about the shelf life of fresh produce by monitoring the external environment in which it is kept. The app knows which food items are kept externally and which are stored in refrigerators (information fed in already). The user just needs to update their refrigerator settings in the app once, and from there on the app will consolidate data from external environment conditions for food kept externally and refrigeration conditions for others to deliver more accurate alerts.

4.) Customised recipes: The app has an option of delivering menu suggestions for each meal every day. These suggestions are composed of food ingredients which are closer to their expiry date. Moreover, to make the experience more personalised, the user has an option of feeding in to the app preferred food choices, items user is allergic to, and level of variety desired.

5.) Voice recognition system: To update the app, once a food item has been cooked, the user just speaks to the app in the format of <ingredient quantity> <ingredient name> to update the inventory list. The user does not even have to open the app. Simply, giving the command ‘foodAte’ followed by the quantity and name would suffice.

6.) Food Inventory: foodAte also serves as a grocery inventory system. Not only it helps the user reduce food wastage through avoiding spoilage, but it also helps them keep track of what items they need to buy.

With this state-of-the-art technology, foodAte is the closest system to having a smart kitchen assistant, fully aware of its responsibilities as a citizen who’s not living in a food wasting world.

Expert Input / Published January 9, 2016 by Nishita Agrawal

Expert Input

Experts, mostly professors in our case, played a significant role in helping us shape our product. Through constant feedback from them, we were able to refine our idea, and jot down all the necessary details of our product which would truly make it user-friendly as well as optimize its functionality.

1.) “In your logo, I would say include your tag line, because it really captures the fundamental idea of what your application is trying to do. Once any company or customer would understand the product in detail, that tag line will serve as an excellent tool for word-of-mouth marketing for your product as well.”- Graphic Designer

2.) “Make use of the fact that your application functions via retail stores where people purchase these food items. Leverage the fact that companies are always on a look out for good publicity and engaging in something like this gives them the required element of corporate social responsibility as well.” – An Economics Professor

3.) “Your application would serve well for say one retail store, but what if I visit several stores in the same day, or say in the same week to purchase groceries from multiple stores if one store does not have what I require. How would I use this application to truly track ALL of my groceries? Because for this tracking system to be truly useful to me, I have to be able to maintain a universal profile of some sorts.”- Product Management Professor

Global Foodies / Published January 9, 2016 by Ishita Agrawal

Global Foodies

Losses in Households

American families throw out approximately 25 percent of the food and beverages they buy.69 The cost estimate for the average family of four is $1,365 to $2,275 annually.70
Consumer food waste also has serious implications for wasted energy.

Research is lacking in the United States, but anecdotal evidence suggests that drivers for household losses include:

Lack of awareness and undervaluing of foods. Cheap, available food has created behaviors that do not place high value on utilizing what is purchased. As a result, the issue of wasted food is simply not on the radar of many Americans, even those who consider themselves environment- or cost conscious.

Confusion over label dates. Label dates on food are generally not regulated and do not indicate food safety. Multiple dates, inconsistent usage, and lack of education
around date labels cause consumers to discard food prematurely. In the U.K., an estimated 20 percent of avoidable food waste in households is discarded because
of date labeling confusion.

Spoilage. Food spoils in homes due to improper or sub-optimal storage, poor visibility in refrigerators, partially used ingredients, and misjudged food needs.

Source: NRDC Issue paper (August 2012 IP: 12-06-B) 'Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill' by Dana Gunders (Natural Resources Defense Council)

Etch-A-Sketch / Published January 9, 2016 by Ishita Agrawal

Etch-A-Sketch

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/7ldu9xk1v6z25p7/AAAGDhSWW0EklUBsrzwWoBd_a?dl=0

Our logo designing process took a while because we wanted our logo to truly define the essence of what this application stands for. Our finalized logo symbolizes the fact which we felt would connect the most to our target consumers and this notion is that foodate serves to be the smartest kitchen assistant there is for everyday households to save money on food that would be wasted otherwise and also help them contribute towards reducing food spoilage.

Our Mission

Everyday learning about individual efforts towards creating breakthrough technology or business models to improve access of food to the underprivileged fills us with immense awe. However, it also makes us ponder upon the extent to which our attention has been swamped by the need to ‘create’ than the need to ‘fix’. The world as a community has problems which have been consequences of our actions. Thousands are proactively tackling these problems. But it is at this moment we need to stop and think. To what extent are we curing and to what extent, preventing. As a measure to fix the problem of food wastage from its roots, our team decided to tackle the seemingly less attractive sector of ‘robust’ solutions: consumers. Innumerable sources stand as evidence corroborating the amount of food that is wasted annually in a standard family of four. In North America, the numbers are as high as 1,160 pounds which in more relatable terms implies about 1.2 million uneaten calories. We aim to tackle just this and eradicate one of the most common ways in which food is thrown away in everyday households: spoilage. And ‘foodate’ is just the system which enables us to achieve it.

Our Background

It is widely believed that the most pressing social issues germinate in developing countries and hence the solutions to end them must be modeled towards those societies. As much as we agree with this notion, studying in a developed country like Canada has introduced us to the perils of neglecting the scope of damage repair that exists in these “urbanized” communities. Specifically pinning down the ever growing concern of food shortage and wastage, while the lack of food engulfs the developing world, wastage is prevalent in the developed. We are business students, and as much as we are taught about extracting profits, we are urged to model ways to better our society as well. Our inspiration to tackle the growing problem of food wastage in developed societies came from our very own ‘wave of independence’. Living and earning on our own, every time throwing out a tomato due to mold or an onion just because we forgot about it existed in the deep corners of the fridge, truly made us realize the amount of food wasted in this way and how it has an impact on our limited budgets. Following this problem, we hit a few keywords on Google, researched the extent of food wastage in households through spoilage, put the numbers together, and Eureka! foodate came to life.

WE DID IT! / Published January 9, 2016 by Nishita Agrawal

WE DID IT!

Finally, this is what our product entails!

foodAte

How does it work?
foodAte works in two versions. An application for the mobile which is to be used by the consumer and a program for retailers. Before purchase of items, the consumer gives his/her foodAte number to the shopkeeper who updates it on their program. This automatically establishes a link to the user’s profile where in all purchased items would be updated as the cashier scans them. foodAte would only register the items categorised as eatables hence eliminating cosmetics or other general household purchases. This is an automatic process which makes the usage of the system hassle free for the retailer as apart from updating the number there is no additional workload added.

Once the purchase is updated, foodAte starts tracking the shelf life of food and would give notifications accordingly to the user to cook or eat the food before its expiry.

Features of the app:
1.) Universal profile: foodAte in order to be used just needs to be installed in the respective retailers’ store. Once installed, then regardless of the retail store (be it Walmart, Nofrills, etc.) users just need to provide their foodAte number and their profile would get updated accordingly.

2.) Barcode + RFID technology: foodAte recognises items scanned using both the barcode and RFID technologies which makes it compatible with a greater number of grocery stores which can use the program.

3.) Environment diagnostics: The app gives updates of shelf life for both fresh produce and packaged food. The expiry dates of packaged food are automatically picked up from the scanned information and updates to the user are delivered accordingly. However, for fresh produce, the app has been fed in with researched information regarding average shelf life of different food items. However, to make the updates more accurate, the app works alongside a built in thermostat which helps the app customise its alerts about the shelf life of fresh produce by monitoring the external environment in which it is kept. The app knows which food items are kept externally and which are stored in refrigerators (information fed in already). The user just needs to update their refrigerator settings in the app once, and from there on the app will consolidate data from external environment conditions for food kept externally and refrigeration conditions for others to deliver more accurate alerts.

4.) Customised recipes: The app has an option of delivering menu suggestions for each meal every day. These suggestions are composed of food ingredients which are closer to their expiry date. Moreover, to make the experience more personalised, the user has an option of feeding in to the app preferred food choices, items user is allergic to, and level of variety desired.

5.) Voice recognition system: To update the app, once a food item has been cooked, the user just speaks to the app in the format of <ingredient quantity> <ingredient name> to update the inventory list. The user does not even have to open the app. Simply, giving the command ‘foodAte’ followed by the quantity and name would suffice.

6.) Food Inventory: foodAte also serves as a grocery inventory system. Not only it helps the user reduce food wastage through avoiding spoilage, but it also helps them keep track of what items they need to buy.

With this state-of-the-art technology, foodAte is the closest system to having a smart kitchen assistant, fully aware of its responsibilities as a citizen who’s not living in a food wasting world.

Expert Input / Published January 9, 2016 by Nishita Agrawal

Expert Input

Experts, mostly professors in our case, played a significant role in helping us shape our product. Through constant feedback from them, we were able to refine our idea, and jot down all the necessary details of our product which would truly make it user-friendly as well as optimize its functionality.

1.) “In your logo, I would say include your tag line, because it really captures the fundamental idea of what your application is trying to do. Once any company or customer would understand the product in detail, that tag line will serve as an excellent tool for word-of-mouth marketing for your product as well.”- Graphic Designer

2.) “Make use of the fact that your application functions via retail stores where people purchase these food items. Leverage the fact that companies are always on a look out for good publicity and engaging in something like this gives them the required element of corporate social responsibility as well.” – An Economics Professor

3.) “Your application would serve well for say one retail store, but what if I visit several stores in the same day, or say in the same week to purchase groceries from multiple stores if one store does not have what I require. How would I use this application to truly track ALL of my groceries? Because for this tracking system to be truly useful to me, I have to be able to maintain a universal profile of some sorts.”- Product Management Professor

Global Foodies / Published January 9, 2016 by Ishita Agrawal

Global Foodies

Losses in Households

American families throw out approximately 25 percent of the food and beverages they buy.69 The cost estimate for the average family of four is $1,365 to $2,275 annually.70
Consumer food waste also has serious implications for wasted energy.

Research is lacking in the United States, but anecdotal evidence suggests that drivers for household losses include:

Lack of awareness and undervaluing of foods. Cheap, available food has created behaviors that do not place high value on utilizing what is purchased. As a result, the issue of wasted food is simply not on the radar of many Americans, even those who consider themselves environment- or cost conscious.

Confusion over label dates. Label dates on food are generally not regulated and do not indicate food safety. Multiple dates, inconsistent usage, and lack of education
around date labels cause consumers to discard food prematurely. In the U.K., an estimated 20 percent of avoidable food waste in households is discarded because
of date labeling confusion.

Spoilage. Food spoils in homes due to improper or sub-optimal storage, poor visibility in refrigerators, partially used ingredients, and misjudged food needs.

Source: NRDC Issue paper (August 2012 IP: 12-06-B) 'Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill' by Dana Gunders (Natural Resources Defense Council)

Etch-A-Sketch / Published January 9, 2016 by Ishita Agrawal

Etch-A-Sketch

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/7ldu9xk1v6z25p7/AAAGDhSWW0EklUBsrzwWoBd_a?dl=0

Our logo designing process took a while because we wanted our logo to truly define the essence of what this application stands for. Our finalized logo symbolizes the fact which we felt would connect the most to our target consumers and this notion is that foodate serves to be the smartest kitchen assistant there is for everyday households to save money on food that would be wasted otherwise and also help them contribute towards reducing food spoilage.

Our Team

Our Mission

Everyday learning about individual efforts towards creating breakthrough technology or business models to improve access of food to the underprivileged fills us with immense awe. However, it also ...Read More

Our Background

It is widely believed that the most pressing social issues germinate in developing countries and hence the solutions to end them must be modeled towards those societies. As ...Read More

The information contained here represents student project ideas developed as the result of brainstorming activities during Round 1 of the TFF Challenge. It does not represent any final business plans or commercial products.