Back of the Fridge

A mobile application dedicated to minimizing food waste and promoting sustainable eating habits


UX Lead


3 months


UX student, Data Analyst (2)


During a conversation, my friends and I had an epiphany: although we all appreciated farmers markets, our experiences varied significantly. Despite our shared desire to shop locally and support farmers, the distinct contexts of our respective localities posed unique challenges. How could we reduce these challenges to allow us to shop locally and reduce our carbon footprint?


People want to shop locally but aren't able to


Reduce the carbon footprint caused by food

How might we support sustainable practices?

Amidst the challenges posed by COVID-19, there was significant coverage on how reduced human activity contributed to nature’s recovery from pollution. The media coverage instilled hope by highlighting collective efforts to combat climate change. Our hope is that by making shopping locally easier, we can reduce how our dietary needs negatively impact the environment.

Comparing current farmers market applications

Apps have either unknown data sources or require the farmer or user to add the information in. What we saw in the competitor analysis showed us that there were gaps in the market.

Addressing our assumptions before writing a survey

Due to our varied experiences in accessing local produce, we engaged in discussions about our individual approaches before drafting the survey. Although our shared goal was to promote purchasing produce from farmer, we each held preconceived ideas about the app's execution.

Grocery habits of 48 survey respondees

Our survey aimed to collect data on individuals’ existing shopping behaviors while assessing their levels of interest and the obstacles they encounter when purchasing directly from farmers.

Most people do one trip

Customers aim to streamline their shopping by condensing all purchases into a single trip. The majority of shoppers don't go to the store more than once a week

Grocery stores have it all

Th of shopping occurs at general and specialty grocery stores, which provide customers with a diverse selection of essential items and convenient operating hours.

Eating locally is inaccessible

When queried about their experiences with local shopping, the majority of individuals conveyed enthusiasm for the concept of consuming locally-sourced products. However, despite appreciating the advantages and sense of community associated with local consumption, they encounter challenges related to availability, pricing, transportation, and scheduling.

"I’ve been farming for a few years now and can say that getting connected to my local food systems by participating in them on a daily basis has been very eye opening for me re. food access (esp fresh food!)! While unemployed in the winter I’ve found it super difficult to find local fresh foods despite living in an agricultural district"

"I live in a major city where people are largely motivated to control their environmental impact and have the means to buy fresh vegetables. It should be easy! But, farmers markets run about once a week and aren't always places that I can access quickly, even in a walkable place like this. That makes it more of a novelty to go. There are also categories of things that I don't know how to access locally (Do they grow nuts here? Sometimes the farmers market doesn't have a milk guy. What's ACTUALLY local at the supermarket?)"

"Usually only end up purchasing one or two items as a treat and not as a staple good that is used regularly, because of pricing/frequency of shopping"

"Local produce is often just that much better. I also like supporting local producers. I would do this a lot more often if it was more accessible. In fact, if I lived next to a farmer's market like I did in China, it'd be the only place I go for groceries."

Revising our approach to sustainability in eating

Our survey findings revealed that the primary barriers faced by individuals seeking access to local foods include scheduling constraints, pricing considerations, transportation limitations, and product availability. The driving factors behind current grocery purchases are price, familiarity, and the freshness of produce.

Following an ideation session and subsequent review, it became evident that no single solution could comprehensively address all the systemic challenges encountered by people. Consequently, we recognized the need to pivot our approach and focus on identifying a specific issue that we could effectively tackle.

Extracting key themes from 5 survey interviews

To gain insights into how we could promote sustainability through individuals' existing grocery habits, we conducted interviews with five willing survey participants.

Upon receiving new insights from our user interviews, we discovered previously unnoticed themes. By shifting our focus from promoting local consumption to addressing food waste reduction, we can help individuals live more sustainably while also saving money.

  • Respondents typically select familiar foods because they know how enjoy it.
  • Often, items are forgotten in the fridge, resulting in either duplicate purchases or spoilage before use.
  • While individuals express interest in trying new foods, incorporating them into regular meals can be challenging, and thus leading to new foods being forgotten.

The global impact of food waste

We conducted research to gain a deeper understanding of the significant impact of food waste. Our findings revealed that reducing food waste can lead to substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and promote food efficiency and security.

  • Approximately 931 million tons of food are wasted each year worldwide.
  • Households create 61% of food waste.
  • On average, 267 lbs of food are wasted per person annually
  • Production, transportation, and handling of food generate substantial carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. When food ends up in landfills, it produces methane, an even more potent greenhouse gas.

User personas

We developed two personas based on our user data to serve as guiding references during the application development process.

Recipe via ingredient applications

We conducted research to gain a deeper understanding of the significant impact of food waste. Our findings revealed that reducing food waste can lead to substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and promote food efficiency and security

Drafting screens and prioritizing features

We identified key screens and the features that would be essential for our minimum viable product to ensure we had a good foundation for our design. Identifying the primary screens helped us visualize the user flow together.

Stay tuned for more!