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Fruit Saver

 

Fruit Saver

Design research, user experience design, technology development and
product modeling by:
Michael Raineri


Design research, user experience design
and visual design by:

Karina Davila

Fruit Saver allows you to measure the freshness of your fruit and set a reminder so that you won’t forget to eat it.

The significant amount of food waste created in the United States puts a huge burden on the environment and costs consumers and the food industry a lot of money. With Fruit Saver, we set our sights are helping people reduce their food waste.

Research, challenges, audience and user journey

Initially, we began by asking why someone would throw away perfectly good food from their pantry or refrigerator. There were many answers to this question, but we found that the most common factors that contributed to throwing away food were confusion surrounding shelf life, and forgetfulness about food with finite shelf life. Many of those foods with finite shelf life include produce. Produce tends to have no official labeling as to when it will spoil and consumers frequently forget about produce or overestimate its shelf life leading to uneaten food waste.

Because it would be difficult to try to measure many kinds of food with one device given food regulations and accuracy, we decided to focus specifically on produce. Our audience were people in a household who do regular grocery shopping, so we needed to find produce that could be easily measured in a household. After further research we found that fruits have an indicator that could help us. When fruits begin to ripen, they release a gas called ethylene. Ethylene is a good indicator to use to determine how ripe a piece of fruit is.

Ideally using these small chip sticker sensors, which have been developed to measure ethylene gases without the price tag, would have been the perfect sensor to be used in the household setting. Unfortunately, this technology was already patented. We knew this was a setback in how we could test our product, but initially we wanted to figure out our user journeys. 

 

After doing a few interviews, we noticed there were two different user journeys we heard about repeatedly: Scenario A - the user would remember to eat their produce; or, Scenario B - they would forget to eat their produce and by the time they realized they needed to eat it, it was too ripe or they weren't sure if it was still safe to eat so they threw it away. We wanted to focus on Scenario B, and we saw that there could be an opportunity for intervention between the last two steps of not knowing if fruit is still good and then throwing it away.

Fruit Saver consists of two things: an easy to use sensor the user can use to measure the freshness of your fruit and an app that stores the fruits data and allows oneto set a reminder so that you won’t forget to eat your fruit.

Using our concept of Fruit Saver, the new user journey became: 

As a household member, I want to remember to eat my fruits so that I don’t have to throw them away when they spoil and I forget to eat them.

Wireframes and prototyping

When thinking about how the app could work with the sensor, we needed to think of a product that could easy be used at home without hassle. It needed to be small and handled easily. We decided to go with a small device that had an inserter that could easily be inserted into fruit for measuring. As mentioned before, ideally we would've been able to use the small chip sensors, but we decided were able to do our initial prototypes with Arduino technology. 

 

 

We decided to prototype our product with an initial dummy physical sensor and multiple wireframes from our app. What we heard during these testing session was that apart from our reminder feature, many users wanted to see tips on how to keep their fruit fresh longer and some recipes they could use to find creative ways to eat their fruit.

 

Walkthrough

Our final product was a product that was not only a reminder for our users, but also something they could use everyday for recipes and tips on how to store their fruits. Above, one can see the steps to use the product. First, poke your fruit. Once the sensor picks up the ethylene level in your produce, it sends that information to your phone and opens the Fruit Saver app. 

Once the app opens, it will register the fruits approximate expiration date and prompt you to set a reminder so you don't forget to eat your fruit. Fruit Saver also offers tips if you want to know the best way to keep your fruits fresh, and recipes so you can figure out what to do with your fruit if you want to get creative. If you would like to see a complete walkthrough please click below.