NETWORK OF ASPIRING TECHNOLOGY ENTREPRENEURS
A digital platform for neighbours to save money by sharing food
Food should be a necessity, not a commodity
The National Zero Waste Council showed that food waste is one of the biggest sustainability issues in Canada, with $17 billion dollars of food wasted per year. 2.2 million tonnes is wasted in Canadian households, emitting around 9.8 million tonnes of CO2. 😮💨
Long story short, Canadians consume a lot of food, and also dispose of a lot of food. With rising importance in sustainability practices to combat the effects of climate change, we were tasked with developing a solution to address the issues of irresponsible consumption and production.
One week to come up with an idea, conduct research, prototype, and present in front of a panel of judges is not a lot of time. In an ideal scenario, divvying up the work would have been the best approach to tackle this competition... however, being stuck in a slump is never fun. The team and I bounced ideas off of each other until coming down to a single solution and then we began to grind.
I mostly took part in user interface design and ensuring the pitch presentation was cohesive from a visual marketing standpoint. This meant determining the user workflow for our proposed solution, as well as mocking up wireframes and our final prototype in Figma.
During the pitch in front of both contestants and judges/panelists, pitching the business idea was a responsibility of my teammates, while I took over presenting the actual mobile application itself, as well as answering any questions regarding the user experience while interacting with the app.
Discovery, research, ideation, prototyping, presenting
Nicole Yu, Syeda Nudrat Zehra, Winnie Lao
3rd Place Winner
The problem 😢
The grocery paradox: In an effort for Canadians to save money, people waste food. This is mainly due to the temptations of wanting to jump on a really great sale at the grocery store, as well as oversized prepackaged portions which results in the food expiring before being consumed.
How bad can oversized portions be for your body?
According to the 2013 Canadian Community Health Survey conducted by Stats Canada, nearly 62% of Canadian men (8.2 million) and 46% of women (6.1 million) were considered overweight or obese and facing increased health risks due to excess weight.
The solution ✨
Our vision is to help consumers realize that they are able to save money and reduce food waste at the same time. We've created a mobile digital space for people to share deals and food right from the homepage.
After surveying 20 grocery shoppers (between the ages of 18-30) in Toronto, we found that 50% of participants felt that they were wasting food due to sales temptations and pre-packaged portion sizes.
Seasonal and weekly specials at grocery retailers often resulted in stockpiling and overbuying solely to take advantage of saving money. In addition, buying pre-packaged portions of food is often overestimated by respondents, and leads to an excess amount of groceries that can't be consumed within the expiry date.
Our personas are based off of the target demographic for our mobile app, who are young people living in urban areas like the GTA (specifically in downtown Toronto) in single-person or single-family households. These people are typically on the lower side of the spectrum when it comes to income, such as young professionals or students. They are aged 18 to 35 and the primary shopper of their household. To illustrate the size of our target market, there are 359,000 one-person households and 597,000 low-income individuals in Toronto.
What else is on the market today?
To gain full scope of the market we're designing for, the team decided to conduct a competitive analysis and look at two of most popular food waste and food sharing apps that are currently on the market today. 🛍️
After conducting our competitive analysis, we've discovered that our solution is the only food waste solution that can help people save money and enjoy fresh food through better grocery planning.
Our vision came to life in the form of a mobile application entitled A Meal for Two. The name of the app stems from its core philosophy: to share food among 2+ people in order to reduce food disposal and save money on groceries.
Upon launch of the app and logging in, the user is able to set their location using their GPS or typing an address in at the top in order to browse for extra groceries and deals nearby that others are willing to share.
Buying & sharing
Buy and share extra or unwanted groceries from other people nearby to eliminate the need of overbuying and preventing extra groceries from expiring. Users are able to view details about the groceries, as well as the seller's information. If you want to split groceries, clicking on the green share button will engage a direct conversation with the seller.
The user may also find curated recipes with instructions directly on the application. These recipes appear on a rotating basis for groceries that are currently on sale at retailers. This helps spark cooking inspiration so these extra ingredients don't go to waste.
Stick to your strong suits 🃏
The team went into this competition thinking it would be similar to a design or UX-style hackathon, however, we were VERY wrong. We soon realized this would be a case competition, and by some stroke of luck sent from above, it just so happened that 2 out of the 4 teammates had previous backgrounds in Business. Since I was not one of them, I stuck to what I did best: user interface design. I learned that it's okay if you don't know anything, because the only way to learn, is by being clueless.
Selling yourself is intimidating 🤑
... But very needed, if not, essential. The only way to get your ideas and really prove yourself to judges in a competition is to have faith in your idea and really drive home the main message of your story. Prototyping and preparation can only get you so far. If you can't sell your idea, how will you let the world know about it?
Concluding thoughts 🔚
I'd like to thank the GO Network of Technology Entrepreneurs for organizing and planning this week-long case competition! It was really fulfilling to be able to make it into the finals as well as place on the podium amongst a room of other talented teams. Thanks to all of the judges who hounded us with questions and feedback, we really appreciate it, and I'll be taking your advice further with me into the industry. Lastly, thanks to my team members, Nicole, Nudrat, and Winnie for carrying us to 3rd place and pulling several late nights together. As stressful as it was, y'all made the experience bearable!