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 problem and audience
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 this project, we wanted to find a way to help people reduce their food waste by performing a simple action.
Because of the scope of our project and timing, we focused on a regular household that bought groceries at least once a week. We believed this would also make it accessible to us when prototyping.
Research and our users 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.
With secondary research, we found that fruits specifically have a good indicator that could help us—ethylene. When fruits begin to ripen, they release a gas called ethylene.
To begin to understand our audience and the problem more in depth we conducted quick 1:1 interviews with participants about their shopping and eating habits around produce and fruits in particular.
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.
Wireframes and Prototype
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.
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.
We wanted our solution to consist 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 one to set a reminder so that you won’t forget to eat your fruit.
Using this concept, 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.
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 would offer 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.
Design research and UX design by Michael Raineri and Karina Davila
Technology development and product modeling by Michael Raineri
Visual design by Karina Davila