The UK is producing 18 million tonnes of waste every year, and 40% of food ends
up in a landfill site, sitting idle and unusable. During its stay in landfills,
it will decompose and produce methane, a greenhouse gas contributing to climate
change. Undoubtedly, there is a negative impact on the environment. One-third
of food waste comes from producers and supply chain, one third from retailers,
and a third of households together combined contribute to the tremendous amount
of waste just within the UK. The food industry sector alone wastes 1 million
tonnes of food every year at a cost over £2.5 billion. It contributes to 1.3
million meals or one in six meals served. In today’s economy, businesses and
homes are encouraged to participate in a more sustainable way of living and
reduce food waste.
The major project aims to design and develop a prototype for a food donation
platform, in the form of an app. The app will incorporate a method to connect
people who waste surplus food to those who need it, ultimately through
donation. It is a method to prevent edible food from ending up on landfill
sites. The food wasters may wish to give the food away at the end of the day at
considerably lower cost or even free of charge instead of disposing of it. The
other option for wasters is to send it to sustainable decomposition however a
better choice may be to distribute surplus to the needy to meet social
Smartphones are sold in double the number of personal computers in the current
market with an average smartphone user spending 30 hours monthly on more than
two dozen apps. The app market in the current market is enormous and
unstoppable with a prediction of being a $77 billion industry (Clifford, 2014).
Though the creation of a platform using, it should be accessible to a vast
range of users in the developed world.
1.3 Literature research plan
The literature search primarily aims to find the dilemma is food wastage and
the significant players who are trying to solve the situation. To understand
how my food donation app would be useful in saving the surplus food. I need to
be aware of what existing organisations are going and to what extent they are
saving meals from being wasted.
The studies start by considering the user-centred design and focuses on what
and how it is applied in interaction design. I will briefly look at the five
dimensions of interaction design. I will further consider existing Android apps
on the ‘Play Store’ and state how they are functioning to resolve hunger and
food wastage. The apps are categorised into two: for developed and developing
Before I can proceed to create an app: a platform for food donation, I need to
consider the food crisis and leading causes of food insecurity. A comparison
between global and local efforts to combat food wastage is given. This section
also discusses the commitments of the Leicester council in tackling food waste.
There is also information on who needs food and will be useful to understand
who to target the app.
Finally, in the last chapter, I will be considering the different stages of
developing an app prototype. Lastly, there will be a description of ‘Material
Design’ and how it will be useful in developing app prototype.
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION TO USER-CENTERED DESIGN AND INTERACTIVE DESIGN
1.4 User Centred Design
User-centred design is a design philosophy and ultimately puts the user at the
centre of the design process. In UCD the designers understand user needs and
limitations. Designers make careful decisions when designing for an individual
or a group of individuals. Designers should have a deeper understanding of how
users engage and interact with products or applications, research and testing
are also required to achieve a sense of direction on user behaviour.
Cognitive psychology began in the 1960s. There was for the first-time emphasis
on ergonomic fit, which focused on a design fitting around a human body further
developed in cognitive fit which takes into consideration not only fit of the
body but also fit of the limitations of our senses, deductive ability and
memory. There was soon a new area of focus, computers, which lead to vast
interactions with design objects, the establishment of human-computer
interactions (HCI) lead to a whole new phase in design.
1.5 Interaction Design
User Centred Design is applied to Interaction Design (IxD): a process of
designing interactive digital products. The dimensions of interactive design
refers to the language we use to communicate with users, as opposed to how we
talk ideas within the design process (Gillian Crampton Smith, )
5 Dimension of Interaction design
1D- Words: represents the semantics of the interaction. It uses a word to
prompt a message to the users in that they will be able to process it quickly
and efficiently. A single word may contain an absolute meaning although they
are also opening to receive an interpretation from users. It is, therefore,
necessary to be selective with the use of terminology and precisely represent
2D- Visual Representations: we can process the images and extract its meaning
in a split second. The visual content is elements that contribute to the
overall look such as diagrams, icons, typography.
3D- Physical Objects: This is the physical items in the real world. They may be
input and output devices such as keyboards, keypad and mouse. These tools can
provide users with the much-needed feedback and guidance in making
4D- Time: This dimension enables users to make use of the physical objects in
the three dimensions. 4D consists of sound, film and animation to convey
information; it will ultimately enhance the user experience.
5D- Behaviour: It encompasses a response to the user possibly an emotional
response or a feedback from the product. It is a reaction in response to their
activities within the product. It is an indication of whether the user had
completed an action successfully.
1.6 The existing apps on food
The amount of surplus food available differs in every organisation and every
country; therefore different approaches are provided by apps. They can be
categorised into apps within developed countries and developing
Apps for Developed countries
The free app connects people in the neighbourhood to local business. The food
on offer is food nearing to its expiry dates in local shops, spare home-grown
vegetables, bread from a local bakery or even the groceries in the fridge that
you want to give away while on holiday. OLIO is also being used for the donation
of non-food household items too although it is not the primary objective.
Food Cloud app connects businesses that have surplus food to charities in the
local community. If a store has perfectly good food that they cannot sell,
quickly and easily they can upload a description of the food items using an
in-store scanner or use a smartphone app. The connected charity receives
notifications of when the food is ready for collection. The charity can accept
the food, and it will indicate a positive response through the app. The partner
charities include breakfast clubs to homeless hostels to family support
services. This way they can relocate their funding towards other services and
ultimately supporting their mission to reduce food waste.
Apps for Developing countries
Cheetah (West Africa)
The researchers at the University of Twente have developed an app with backing
from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to find solutions to the problems
leading to halving of fruit and vegetable production and being spoiled before
it gets to the market. The causes include obstacles such as transportation
conditions and lack of refrigeration. The app shows the best route to the
market to avoid heavy traffic and road conditions as well as to prevent
situations where drivers are set up to take bribes while carrying food. The app
helps from food getting wasted due to it not reaching the markets on time
causing loss to both the farmers as well.
No Food Waste (India)
There is usually surplus food from parties, events, and get-togethers, there
are also contributions from large hotels, restaurants. The places with surplus
food can inform those in need using the app and call for collection. The app is
said to feed 200 people within seven cities including hubs like Delhi and Chennai
in India. Food collected is redistributed to the homeless, orphanages, slums
and senior citizens. The app is presented with a map to indicate the “hunger
points” where there is an immediate need for food, and the food can be
delivered directly to those locations.
2 CHAPTER 2: MORE ON FOOD DONATION
2.1 Food crisis
The world is facing increasing demand for food. Conflict, the price of food and
natural disasters contribute being the main reasons for food deficit. According
to the global report on the food crisis, there were reports of 108 million
people around the world with crisis-level food insecurity, and it is showing an
increasing trend with an increase of 80 million people from the previous year.
Countries such as South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and northeast Nigeria are at
risk of famine.
Conflict is a leading cause of food insecurity. Conflicts undermine food
security in many ways; they create access problems for both government and
humanitarian agencies to get to the needy. There is also disruption the food
production cycle; farmers are not able to produce sufficient food crops and
keep up their livestock and will ultimately lead to loss of assets and income.
There are other secondary implications of the shortage of such as malnutrition
and can directly impact on vulnerable groups such as children, elderly and
pregnant women. There are adverse effects of conflict on food production, and
agriculture slows economic and market development. About 3.3 million children
and pregnant or breastfeeding women are incredibly malnourished of which
including 462,000 children under five in severe malnutrition.
Natural disasters are also a significant cause of food insecurity; the
vulnerable countries are those with limited facilities to deal with disaster with
a large population and being less shockproof with infrastructure. One area of
natural phenomenon is El Nino. It is the most significant fluctuation of the
earth climatic system leading to consequences in all parts of the world. El
Nino will occur every few years. Ethiopia has faced the worst impact of El Nino
with 9.7 million people needing food assistance due to the droughts.
There was an extreme pressure on available food in countries such as Angola,
Namibia, Botswana and Zambia. The current conditions are the result of the
cumulative impact of two consecutive years of drought, including El
Niño-induced dry conditions in 2015/16 that resulted in below-average cereal
production and livestock losses.
Having high-cost food makes it merely hectic for the poor to survive. Although
it is an excellent opportunity for farmers, it is the consumers who suffer. For
instance, in southern Africa, the import costs have risen for low -income food
deficit countries (LIFDC) in 2016 for the staple food of maize. The international
price of maize was however considerably lower. The sharp increase in prices
caused difficulties for many countries relying on maize. A sharp drop in cereal
output was triggered, and they related back to conflicts and climatic
2.2 Current efforts
There are various players in reducing food waste. They range from shots of
global organisations to individuals. Due to the enormity of the task, there is
need to act in partnership with other regional and international agencies. The
efforts are need from the food chain with the inclusion of the farmers,
fishers, herders to the global companies. The aim of these partnerships is not
only to reduce food waste but also to establish a sustainable food system. The
food supply chains must be targeted to improve the efficiency and
sustainability of future generation systematically. The system considers the
production and consumption.
From a business point of view, they are only willing to adopt measures for food
waste reduction if there is either a form of profit or if there is less cost
involved. Food waste is on the political agenda in developed countries.
However, in developing countries, an individual approach is required. There is
the need to tackle rapid urbanisation, the expanding supply chains and the
change in diets and lifestyle.
Global approach: Save Food
Save Food is a worldwide initiative on food loss and waste reduction. The
initiative prioritises food loss and waste from occurring in the first place,
followed by interventions that can lead to reduced loss and misuse. The
initiative also supports cost-effective and environmentally friendly reuse
(such as for animal feed) and recycling (as compost) of lost and wasted food.
Save Food runs global conferences to discuss and find solutions on issues of
development; run workshops on food loss and nutrition security; introduce of
technological solutions as well as social innovation.
Regional: WWF (World Wildlife Foundation)
WWF is just one of the organisations trying to make a change. They take efforts
to focus on transforming businesses, maximising farm resources and saving
school food. WWF is working with the market leaders of food products to
encourage them to take on food wastage reduction programs; it will allow those
retailers to transform several sectors within their business to create a more
significant impact and change. The WWF aims to take back the lost value of food
in many countries from regional expanding globally.
Coming in partnership with the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA)
and Rockefeller Foundation, there is the encouragement to conduct research on
waste prevention strategies and to understand the significant reasons for food
waste. The study hopes to determine the sufficient staffs, leaders and
customers to initiate industry best practice campaign.
Local: Leicester council-
The council is one of the many counties within the UK to sign up for zero waste
landfill commitment with the dedication to a full waste segregated collection
service to reducing the environmental impact. The primary forms of waste
include food waste such as peelings, leftovers, expired food and others. Food
waste collected from homes is turned into a product using in-vessel composting.
Otherwise, there is an anaerobic digestion facility whereby organic material is
broken down by micro-organisms in the absence of oxygen, to produce renewable
energy. The collected elements are used to create soil improvers of PAS100
The Love Food Hate Waste website provides advice on minimising food waste; there
are tips on planning meals, portion sizes, food dates and their meaning and
food storage to obtain best results.
Food Waste Challenge allows people to discover how much money one could save on
their weekly shopping of food; how to create tasty meals from leftovers and
provides online cooking classes to help reduce the food waste produced at
There are encouragements to deal with food waste through composting. You can
also use a food waste digester for uncooked kitchen waste such as peelings and
teabags as well as cooked waste including meat, fish and dairy.
2.3 Ways to donate food
How can business organisations donate?
Examples of where businesses can donate to:
Donate to FoodCycle. Members volunteer to produce meals from surplus food
material to provide a community-based approach. The meals using excess
ingredients would hope to change attitudes towards wasting them. The needy are
distributed the meals.
Donate to FoodSave, and they focus on small food business around London to deal
with surplus food and help raise awareness of how to dispose of waste
responsibly, concentrating on anaerobic digestion and composting.
Donate to City Harvest, they collect surplus food from many sources around New
York and delivers it free of cost to soup kitchens, food pantries and other
community food programs across the state.
Where can individuals
Donate directly to your local charity food bank – you can direct donate food to
a food bank. The food an individual wish to donate may be either packaged or
cooked already. It is advised to find out whether a charity is willing to
accept surplus food from a party or an event. Trussell Trust is an excellent
source to donate.
Donate at collection points in
supermarkets across the country. Major supermarkets such as Tesco are making a
difference through creating food ‘collection point’ in partnership with food
charities ‘The Trussell Trust’ and ‘FareShare’. There is acceptance of long
life food donated by customers who come to Tesco.
Donate to collection hosted by local
schools, churches and businesses. Donations by individuals will remind others
of their social responsibility, the act of contributing to the society can
fulfil their civic duty as a human being.
Leicester food banks
2.4 Who needs food?
There are many reasons for referring to food banks; the top reasons are low
income (26.45%), benefit delays (26.01%) and benefit changes (16.65%) (Trussell
Trust, 2016). There are still a lot of stereotypes on who visits food banks. It
is time to look beyond the stereotypes circulating who goes to food banks. The
University of Oxford and Kings College London has researched those accessing
food banks. The findings indicate that the majority, 39% accessing food banks
are single men, with single mums at 13%, single women 12% and couple with
dependent children making 9%. (Trussell Trust: Financial insecurity, food
insecurity and disability report). Research indicates that lack of food is not
the only factor affecting them, missing meals days at a time and living without
electricity and heating also contribute to the problems some face. One in five
had slept rough in recent months. (BBC). The vulnerable are also those earning
below £320 every month.
3 CHAPTER 3: PRE-DEVELOPMENT
3.1 App Design Cycle
Designing an app prototype follows several stages inclusive of iterative
processes. With 77% of users never using an app after three days of
installation and 90% apps uninstalled after 30 days (Chen, 2017), it is crucial
to prototype correctly with the user’s requirements in mind. The following are
the critical stages of app prototype development.
The primary stage is to define the app which means that there should be a clear
description of the problem to be solved through an app. The app also requires a
unique selling point.
The next stage is to research the mobile market, understand the needs of users
and what sort of functions and information are expected from the app. The data
collected will consist of both primary and secondary research inclusive of
qualitative and quantitative data. It will assist in the decision-making
From research, it is now possible to create user personas- this will allow app
designer to understand where the app is likely to fit in the real world.
Wireframing is essential to build the body for the app; it will enable the
designer to visualise the critical element of the app and on-screen the
arrangement of objects. Research into User psychology will help to enhance the
user experience. Wireframes are constructed either using freehand sketches or
using appropriate digital tools such as ‘Justinmind’. It is now possible to
create an interface using prototyping software tools with wireframes to guide
the placement of elements.
Testing is required to gain a second opinion of the app; usability testing
evaluates how users interact with the functionality and how they perceive
information presented within the app.
From the testing feedback, the app is refined to incorporate the changes. This
stage requires iteration to produce a fully complete prototype.
3.2 Material Design
Material design is a unified system combining theory, resources and tools for
enhancing users digital experience. The Material Design follows a set of
principles that are consistent with the style, branding elements and
interaction. Material components allow beautiful, modular and customisable UI
The material design follows several guidelines on the areas of motion, style,
layout, usability, platforms and resources. Material design aims to create a
visual language that emphasis on sound design, with room for innovation using
science and technology. Principles offer device interoperability with devices
of different sizes. Within the theory of material design, users experience an
excellent sense of space and system of motion transforms the entire design.
Within material design, the elements such as the use of colour, images, scale,
use of space and typography contribute to the meaning and hierarchy of the
presented content. Further, choices that designers make as on the use of
whitespace and colour, for instance, will enhance the experience to the user in
the duration of usage and there will be an immediate impact on the way user