IDEA:A mobile application that reduces food waste by enabling customers to buy unsold food at very low prices.


PROBLEM STATEMENT:Food waste is a continuously growing global issue that is currently the center of attention of the world community.Massive amounts of energy are used for food production and food appropriate for human consumption is being discarded.In a world who is running out of energy we must reduce the food waste in order to prevent an upcoming global crisis.


GOAL:Design a food rescue mobile application easy to use with fun design where merchants can post and sell the excess food at discounted prices, or individuals can donate leftovers in order to reduce food waste.

MY ROLE:Entire research, product design and validation through user testing.




METHODOLOGY:At my workflow, I use Design Thinking methodology to find solutions for the user problem. Design thinking is a non-linear, iterative process that teams use to understand users, challenge assumptions, redefine problems and create innovative solutions to prototype and test.

THE STUDY:In the EU, around 88 million tonnes of food waste are generated annually with associated costs estimated at 143 billion euros (FUSIONS, 2016). While an estimated 20% of the total food produced is lost or wasted, 33 million people cannot afford a quality meal every second day (Eurostat, 2018).First of all, food waste has a very bad environmental impact.If we consider that nearly one third of all food produced for humans each year is wasted or lost. This 1.3 billion tonnes of food is worth a total of nearly US$ trillion. This wasted food takes an area larger than China to produce, and uses 25% of the world’s water supply.Also,if we look at the problem from a smaller scale,merchants can’t afford the cost  and they pay taxes for food that is thrown away.

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COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS:Before I started the project,I had to do some competitive analysis to gain some insights about how the other competitors try to solve this problem,so I can give a direction to my thoughts, and for this research I reviewed the following apps:

[NOTE:none of these apps are available in Greece]


OLIO:Olio is a mobile app for food sharing, aiming to reduce food waste.It does this by connecting those with surplus food to those who need or wish to consume such food. The food must be edible; it can be raw or cooked, sealed or open.It also has cool discussion features which is like a local community.


TOO GOOD TO GO:is a mobile application that connects customers to restaurants and stores that have unsold food surplus.The food on the app is priced at one-third its original price.-No food donation feature-


KARMA:Is available in few countries of Europe and has a really cool badge system and its design wise it’s really easy to use and encourages users to save more food items through its really nice UI.


FOOD FOR ALL:This app is only available in the US, really slow and hard to use but it provides a free meal every 10 points you collect which is cool because it encourages people to use it.


PRIMARY RESEARCH:Now, after the secondary research, I wanted to gather some qualitative data, too, as most of the research papers I’ve found are pre-covid. Many things have changed in the restaurant business after that.In order to do that,I decided to speak directly to restaurant owners and conduct a few interviews.I called some business business owners in various spots in the city(city center,suburbs,mall) so I could have a clear picture of how much food they prepare,and how much of it is discarded.

I also conducted a survey via Google Forms to also gather some quantitative data too,to get a better idea of the situation.


INTERVIEW TO Mr Aristidis Papadopoulos, a

Restaurant owner in the city center:


[Mr Papadopoulos has been a restaurant owner in the center of Thessaloniki for the last 23 years.]


Good evening Mr Papadopoulos.

First of all, thank you for taking the time to talk to us today. My name is Jenny Amperiadou and I am here to talk to you about your experience in the field in which you operate.

Let me give you an outline of what’s going to happen. I am going to ask you a series of questions about food waste for a food rescue app we are working on.Let’s start!

You are a restaurant owner in the center of the city for many years and I believe food waste has been a crucial issue.How do you manage the leftovers?


 We usually donate the excess food in non profit organization aimed at homeless people but sometimes they also have plenty of food and in order not to go bad we are sorting the leftovers and we donate the suitable food in animal shelters.

Is there any privileges for those who donate food here in Greece?

No, not at all.Even though we pay taxes for the food supplies we buy,we don’t have any privileges for the food we don’t sell but we donate.This is an issue too.


How did you manage the excessive supplies through the covid-19 quarantines?Did you buy fewer supplies than usual?


Unfortunately the food and drink services where from the most damaged areas during covid-19. We used to deliver food at homes even though we didn’t provide that service before the pandemic.We had to adapt in a difficult new situation but no matter how hard we tried pandemic was a disaster for the food and drink industry.

How would you describe your relationship with technology?


I am a man in my late 60’s so I didn’t grow up with a screen in my hand like kids nowadays but I believe I have adapted quite well.I was from the first restaurant owners who believed the food ordering apps would be a game changer back in 2010s


How easy would it be for restaurant owners like you to adopt a new food rescue policy?


After an adjustment period and a lot of advertising, I believe clients would adopt the app.There are only perfections using a food rescue app.Not only you are reducing your environmental footprint, but you can also buy fully edible food very competitive prices.

Is there something you that makes you hesitative by using the food rescue app?


Even though I believe food rescue app would solve a huge part of the food waste problem,I’m not sure it would help me financially.I’m thinking of that because I suppose that many clients maybe would wait to place their order at the end of the day so they can pay less money for the same thing.



  • Most people did not find food on food delivery apps much affordable

  • Reviews help people decide whether to order from this restaurant or not

  • Most people order food using food delivery apps occasionally

  • most of the people decisions were influenced by the offers available on apps

  • People usually prefer to order food in the evening

  • There is plenty of excessive food that restaurant owners can’t always find someone to donate it.



Understanding the potential users of this app

So now I have all the required information, which is enough to focus my designdecisions and to narrow it further down; I need to understand the potential users, so based on the information I have, I decided to create two provisional personas.

These personas are based on assumptions I made using the data I’ve collected and not fully researched-based, but it was something I came back to throughout my design journey to guide

my decisions.

so here are the assumptions I used while creating these personas

  • People look for discount codes so they can save more

  • People do not find food on existing food apps much affordable

  • People decision is usually influenced by the Offers available on food apps

  • Restaurants want to make money on surplus food rather than throwing it away in a bin.

  • People are also looking for ways to reduce their environmental footprint.

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Well,Brainstorming is the most exciting part of the project.As I am working on this project on my own I used how might we questions to ideate on the right problems and brainstorm the app’s features in a better way.

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Sorting  app tasks


After I am done with brainstorming, in order to make things clear,I have to organize the whole thing before I am jumping to wireframes.I will go with a quick card sorting to classify the how might we assumptions by importance.

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Now I am going to organize the information within the app,so that the user can easily find the information they need.

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In order to conduct user testing I had to contact some friends and family and thankfully they all agreed to volunteer for it.

I gave them some tasks to perform in my prototype and I observed their behavior while completing my tasks while I was taking notes.



  • To know how people interact with the prototype

  • Are they able to accomplish the given tasks with an ease

  • Do they feel stuck anywhere in follow

  • Test how easy it was for users to find the information they needed to understand and browse the feature.


  • Order from a restaurant

  • Go to the food donation page.

  • Navigate through the various pages of the app

  • Go to the previous orders page

  • Try to find the directions to your favorite restaurant.


After the usability testing,I made a change in my design.Before testing,I had placed the sort by button inside the filters button.After some user who didn’t want to put any filters,and they just wanted to browse available foods and then decide;they didn’t find the “sort by choice”. So I had to make 2 seperate buttons on the upper right of the screens.

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While designing the Food Rescue app I learned that the first ideas of the app are only the beginning of the process,that the whole creative process of app design is a journey.Usability testing influences each iteration of the app.

As time goes and users continue giving feedback as well as you look at your design more,future improvements will surface and become clearer and the product will keep getting better.