S P L I T 

- Encouraging behaviour change to reduce food waste created by 'Generation Edge' - 

S P L I T 

- Encouraging behaviour change to reduce
food waste created by 'Generation Edge' -
 

'Investigate Generation Edge’s relationship with food waste, how we can reduce it with a solution that changes behaviour, and how Sainsbury’s can ‘own’ this solution'

The Problem

Despite Generation Edge (aged 18-23) having a greater understanding of food issues and living more healthy & responsible lifestyles, food wastage is huge; with UK households throwing away an estimated 24 edible meals every month.


The Opportunity

To encourage Gen Edge to buy the food for their evening meals as a group, and share cooking responsibilities throughout the week (collective cooking),  while actively encouraging them to reduce their food waste as they do so.


The Solution

SPLIT is an app that enables shared Gen Edge households to easily & efficiently plan their weekly meals; buying food as a group, paying individually and sharing the weekly cooking responsibilities. It utilises a unique points system to reward users for selecting ‘efficient’ ingredient combinations that ensure minimal leftovers, paired with competition between users to reinforce positive behaviour. The key functionality of the app is to streamline and simplify the process of collective cooking, and encourage a greater sense of awareness of food waste.

'Investigate Generation Edge’s relationship with food waste, how we can reduce it with a solution that changes behaviour, and how Sainsbury’s can ‘own’ this solution'

The Problem

Despite Generation Edge (aged 18-23) having a greater understanding of food issues and living more healthy & responsible lifestyles, food wastage is huge; with UK households throwing away an estimated 24 edible meals every month.

The Opportunity

To encourage Gen Edge to buy the food for their evening meals as a group, and share cooking responsibilities throughout the week (collective cooking),  while actively encouraging them to reduce their food waste as they do so.

The Solution

SPLIT is an app that enables shared Gen Edge households to easily & efficiently plan their weekly meals; buying food as a group, paying individually and sharing the weekly cooking responsibilities. It utilises a unique points system to reward users for selecting ‘efficient’ ingredient combinations that ensure minimal leftovers, paired with competition between users to reinforce positive behaviour. The key functionality of the app is to streamline and simplify the process of collective cooking, and encourage a greater sense of awareness of food waste.

THE PROCESS

  THE PROBLEM  

Our relationship with food is changing: over the last decade we have seen a huge cultural and social shift to people desiring a greater understanding about what they are eating. This is particularly true for young people, who we call Generation Edge (aged 18-23) who are portraying healthy and socially responsible lifestyles. However, despite young people having a greater understanding of food issues and socially conscious and responsible values, household food wastage is huge; with 24 edible meals estimated to be thrown away each month by UK households. (The Sound, 2016).

food waste

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Key Questions

 THE ‘WHEN’

  • At what point in people’s relationship with food are people thinking about wastage?
  • Is it in the store, in the home, or on an advertisement on TV?
  • What are the triggers or cues for food waste?
  • Can we develop these triggers or show people ‘when’ they should care about waste?

 THE ‘HOW’

  • How does food wastage occur?
  • How can we make it as easy as possible to reduce?

  THE ‘WHY’

  • Why do people care about food waste?
  • How to we make people care enough to reduce food waste?
  • How do we make reducing waste feel good?

My Focus

Within the project brief, my focus was on the comparative waste produced by collective and individual cooking, generation edge’s attitudes towards collective cooking and how these might be altered to help reduce food waste.

In this context, ‘cooking collectively’ would be defined as a group of housemates who buy food for their evening meals together and share the cost; with one alternating member of the house cooking the meal for the rest of the group each night. 

PRIMARY RESEARCH 

My primary research took place in two stages; initial broad observations then supported by more in-depth methods to develop insights. Both of these were done with a shared university household who cook collectively, and three students who buy and cook their food individually.

Observations

Initially, the participants were observed in their homes while they prepared and cooked their evening meals, allowing me to document any relevant information about their normal habits and attitudes towards storing and using their food; through notes and photographs. The aim here was to establish whether more or less waste is produced by collective group compared to the individuals, and to start generating ideas into why this might be the case. 

This first stage of primary research allowed me to form some initial insights based on what I had observed in the two cooking environments. These findings helped me define my focus further, allowing me to narrow down my key research questions to three key points:

  • Does collective cooking prevent waste?
  • Why do people choose to cook alone/in groups?
  • How can their decision be altered moving forward?

Food Diaries and Spending  

In order to answer my research questions I wanted to track peoples cooking and eating habits over a prolonged period of time; rather than single isolated times. To do this I created a food diary booklet for them to fill out each day and asked them to send pictures of their food prep, to document:

  • Meal cooked
  • Ingredients used and amount
  • Food put back after cooking, or any leftovers
  • Any food that’s been thrown away

The aim here was to establish just how much waste each participant produced over a week period, and why; as it gives more accurate information than the isolated set of observations. This would then allow me to accurately compare the waste of collective and individual cooking, and help me gain a greater understanding of the factors influencing this.

diaries
receipts

The participants were also asked to keep the receipt of the food shop they did at the start of the food diary process to allow me to compare the net spend for that week per person. I wanted to have a clear idea of how much each participant typically spends, so that the interview process could be as effective as possible in revealing how much cost influences what they buy and how much they waste.

Interviews 

The interviews were carried out in the home of each participant, with the household who cook collectively being interviewed as one group. I used set of open interview questions to help guide the discussion, which enabled me to explore other areas of interest brought up by the participants if appropriate.

During this process I had two main focuses - understand in more detail each participant’s food waste and what influences this - why do they waste food? and to get an idea of their attitudes towards cooking collectively or separately - why do they choose to cook in the way they currently do and what factors might influence them to change their behaviour in the future?

interview picture

Key Insights  

Affinity mapping was used to take all of my observations, quotes and relevant points, derived from the previous research phases, and re-organise them into groups that shared a similar theme, or where patterns began to emerge - revealing a selection of key insights; each one with a specific focus. 

affinity mapping

The over-riding results from the research process showed that on average:

  1. Far less food is wasted by groups who cook collectively
  2. Those groups tend to spend approximately £10-£20 less on their food per week

The final insights were split into four key sections:

insights 1
insights 2

THE OPPORTUNITY 

The research findings showed that collective cooking reduced both waste and monetary cost for those that do it;  highlighting an opportunity to encourage members of generation edge to buy the food for their evening meals collectively, and share the cooking responsibilities throughout the week while actively encouraging them to reduce their food waste as they do so.

"You will need to demonstrate clear insight into the behaviour you are trying to target, which
behavioural strategy you have employed and why and how your solution will change behaviour"

Development of Insights

Out of the original 12 insights, 4 were selected to be unpacked further and used to uncover specific problematic behaviours that a design solution could target:

  1. Current lack of rewards to encourage users to actively try and reduce the waste they produce.
  2. People are put off cooking collectively because of how difficult they think it is to organise.
  3. Differing schedules in a household will disrupt meal plans and make collective cooking harder.
  4. Collective cooking reduces waste as ingredients are regularly used more efficiently.
  1. Current lack of rewards to encourage users to actively try and reduce the waste they produce.

  2. People are put off cooking collectively because of how difficult they think it is to organise.

  3. Differing schedules in a household will disrupt meal plans and make collective cooking harder.

  4. Collective cooking reduces waste as ingredients are regularly used more efficiently.

These were then placed on a waste problem graph to establish how problematic they were, and how much waste they might contribute to.

4 insights on w:p graph

I then began using a ‘psychological, rational model of human action’ to unpack them in relation to their intentions, habits and barriers/enablers; three factors that combine to influence the action a user takes.

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 20.06.13

The action focused on here was members of generation edge choosing not to cook collectively:

       Intentions:

  • Personal food preferences
  • Dietary impact of others cooking for you
  • Too much hassle organising sharing
  • Having to split the bill is confusing
  • Actively dislike waste and try and avoid it

       Intentions:

  • Personal food preferences
  • Dietary impact of others cooking for you
  • Too much hassle organising sharing
  • Having to split the bill is confusing
  • Actively dislike waste and try and avoid it

       Habits:

  • Have always bought/cooked food individually
  • Shop at specific times in the week
  • Eat at specific times in the day
  • Waste saving habits are not rewarded 
  • End up throwing out leftover ingredients

       Habits:

  • Always bought/cooked food individually
  • Shop at specific times in the week
  • Eat at specific times in the day
  • Waste saving habits are not rewarded 
  • End up throwing out leftover ingredients

       Barriers and Enablers:

  • Aren’t always home the same time as their housemates
  • Can’t always cook when they’re required to
  • Food allergies/requirements that limit available meals 
  • Last minute schedule changes affect eating habits

       Barriers and Enablers:

  • Aren’t always home the same time as their housemates
  • Can’t always cook when they’re required to
  • Food allergies/requirements that limit available meals 
  • Last minute schedule changes affect eating habits

Problematic Behaviours Identif i e d

Unpacking these insights helped me define the behavioural factors contributing to them, leading to 5 key problematic behaviours being identified as influencing factors behind why generation edge aren’t choosing to cook collectively in the home:

  1. They aren’t willing to compromise their food preferences and so want to buy only for themselves.
  2. They see the process of organising collective cooking as overly complicated and too much hassle.
  3. They have preconceptions that someone else cooking the meal will compromise their diets.
  4. They aren’t rewarded for actively trying not to waste food, so don’t recognise it as a positive thing.
  5. They buy food individually and often put back leftovers of ingredients, which then get thrown away.

These problematic behaviours were again placed on a waste problem graph to visualise which of them might have the biggest impact on whether users cook collectively, and how much waste they produce.

Problematic Behaviours Identif i e d

Unpacking these insights helped me define the behavioural factors contributing to them, leading to 5 key problematic behaviours being identified as influencing factors behind why generation edge aren’t choosing to cook collectively in the home:

  1. They aren’t willing to compromise their food preferences and so want to buy
    only for themselves.

  2. They see the process of organising collective cooking as overly complicated
    and too much hassle.

  3. They have preconceptions that someone else cooking the meal will compromise
    their diets.

  4. They aren’t rewarded for actively trying not to waste food, so don’t recognise
    it as a positive thing.

  5. They buy food individually and often put back leftovers of ingredients, which
    then get thrown away.

These problematic behaviours were again placed on a waste problem graph to visualise which of them might have the biggest impact on whether users cook collectively, and how much waste they produce.

5 probematic behaviours on graph

Behavioural Issues Selected 

The three most influential behavioural issues were selected to take forward and inform a design solution:

behaviour issues final

DEVELOPMENT AND STRATEGIES 

Having identified specific behavioural issues to address, I was ready to start developing some early concepts; exploring how they might influence changes in behaviour and the strategies they might use to do this. 

Concept Generation  

Initially, ideation began on how each of the behavioural issues could be addressed through a solution, leading to the development of three initial concepts:

  1. Automate the organisation of collective cooking to reduce the friction involved with the process, then give up to date information on how this is reducing user’s food waste.

  2. Make individual shopping a far harder and more arduous task than doing so in a group, which could also incorporate beneficial pricing for group purchases.

  3. Educate GE on how to make their ingredients go further, with guidance on planning weekly meals as a group and sticking to them despite last minute schedule changes.

These concepts were compared to one another using the ‘Axis of Influence’ to establish which types of behaviour change strategies they utilised:

Debrah’s axis of influence
3 concepts on axis of influence

They were also placed on a behaviour change matrix to evaluate which one would be the most effective in promoting a change in behaviour. 

3 concepts on bc matrix

This led to one concept being chosen to take forward and develop:

"An app that automates the organisation of collective cooking and reduces the friction involved with the process, then gives up to date information on how this is reducing user’s food waste - encouraging them to continue to do so further"

Ref i ning the Concept  

The chosen concept was refined with a combination of Design with Intent Cards, Behaviour Change Strategy Cards  and the E.A.S.T Design Principles; to fully define product features. 

behaviour change cards

It was then re-evaluated using the same behaviour change matrix, to ensure it was in the ‘target zone’ (shown in yellow); an effective balance between how much behaviour is being altered, and how accepting users will be of the solution. 

Chosen concept on b:c matrix

The final concept effects quite a large change in behaviour but does so subtly and efficiently; minimising any potential resistance from the target users.

THE SOLUTION  

SPLIT is an app that enables members of generation edge, living in shared accommodation, to easily and efficiently plan out their weekly meals; ordering food as a group, paying individually, and then sharing the cooking responsibilities between them.

How It Works

The concept focuses on the positive impact that collective cooking has on the amount of food waste produced, and rewards users for prioritising this when planning their weekly meals. 

Users can set their food preferences so that the weeks meals cater for everyone’s needs, while the app incorporates a points system to reward users for actively trying to reduce their waste through selecting ‘efficient’ ingredient combinations; essentially ensuring that there would be far fewer leftover ingredients that could potentially be forgotten about and thrown away.

How It Works

The concept focuses on the positive impact that collective cooking has on the amount of food waste produced, and rewards users for prioritising this when planning their weekly meals. 

Users can set their food preferences so that the weeks meals cater for everyone’s needs, while the app incorporates a points system to reward users for actively trying to reduce their waste through selecting ‘efficient’ ingredient combinations; essentially ensuring that there would be far fewer leftover ingredients that could potentially be forgotten about and thrown away.

hero shot
project summary pic2

Making these choices gives both the group, and individuals, points that can be saved up to earn them free items. Competition between users is also created with a leader board, and the potential for a night off cooking for the housemate who earns the most ‘saver points’ in a month.

The key functionality of the app is to streamline and simplify the entire process of buying as a group, paying individually and sharing the weekly cooking responsibilities - while encouraging a greater sense of awareness of food waste and rewarding users for positive behaviour. 

Making these choices gives both the group, and individuals, points that can be saved up to earn them free items. Competition between users is also created with a leader board, and the potential for a night off cooking for the housemate who earns the most ‘saver points’ in a month.

The key functionality of the app is to streamline and simplify the entire process of buying as a group, paying individually and sharing the weekly cooking responsibilities - while encouraging a greater sense of awareness of food waste and rewarding users for positive behaviour. 

Behaviour Change Strategies Used

The app offers a simple and flexible solution to the behavioural issues identified, with the overall aim of changing users perceptions of collective cooking and its benefits; in order to promote this process as the best and most effective buying and cooking method for generation edge. The chosen concept channels three primary behaviour change strategies to influence users:

three behaviour changes final

Scenario of Use

scenario 1
scenario 2
scenario 3
scenario 4
  1. Registration and Setup - Users register and connect to their housemate within the app, before setting up their personal food preferences; stating any allergies or food's they aren't able/don't want to eat.

  2. Selecting Meals - After selecting the days they are available to cook for their housemates, users can then begin choosing their meals and ingredients; food options that will combine well and limit the chances of leftovers or waste will be highlighted, and the users will be rewarded for selecting them.

  3. Food order and Meal Plan - Having selected the food for each of their meals, the app combines each list into one singular order for the house, with the price split evenly; allowing each user to pay for their share individually. After confirming the order, they are able to see the following weeks plan, when they are required to cook, and the meal that's being cooked on each day.

  4. Feedback and Rewards - If users consistently select food choices that combine with one another to reduce waste, they will be rewarded over time in the form of free food items on their next shop; saving them money and encouraging them to do this further. In addition, the housemate who amounts the most 'saver points' by doing this, will be rewarded with a night off the cooking the following week.

Key Features



Registration and Setup:

When joining the app, the users can set their food preferences; any allergies they might have along with their food likes and dislikes. This will then dictate the list of meals and ingredients each member of the house can choose to cook on their designated night, ensuring everything cooked can be eaten by all users.

Behaviour Change Strategy: 

Tailoring; adapting what is being offered to suit user needs.

Key Features



Registration and Setup:

When joining the app, the users can set their food preferences; any allergies they might have along with their food likes and dislikes. This will then dictate the list of meals and ingredients each member of the house can choose to cook on their designated night, ensuring everything cooked can be eaten by all users.

Behaviour Change Strategy: 

Tailoring; Adapting what is being offered to suit user needs.

Choosing Meals:

When selecting what they’re going to cook each user is given a list of complete meals and individual ingredients from Sainsbury’s stock. Ingredients or meals that combine best with selections already made by other users ('efficient foods') will contribute to reducing waste that the household produces; as ingredients, will be used up rather than put back away and forgotten about.

Rather than forcing them to choose the ‘efficient foods', something that may cause them to be less accepting of the behaviour change, putting them in control gives them the option and makes them more likely to do it. In conjunction with this, calling attention to the ‘efficient’ foods by promoting them to the top of the list and making them stand out, the app is simply nudging them in the direction of the options that will help reduce their food waste.

choosing ingredients


Behaviour Change Strategies: 

'Put them in control'; allow them to pick efficient food themselves rather than forcing them into a choice
‘Calling attention to the desired option’; highlighting and encouraging the favourable option

‘Setting up the options’; giving the user an open selection to choose from.

Saver Points System:

One of the key behavioural issues identified earlier in the project was the lack of positive feedback when waste was saved, and this has been addressed through a simple points system. If a user does choose an ‘efficient’ meal or ingredient, they earn a ‘saver point’ for the household for that food; once a certain amount of these points has been collected the house are rewarded with a free version of that item.

This points system firstly provides users with real time feedback on how their daily decisions, when using the app, are affecting the food waste they produce. By seeing the saver points they are earning, users know they’re saving these foods from being wasted, giving them instant gratification for their actions. Pairing this with progress bars shows them how close they are to earning a free item, providing them with challenges and targets they’ll want to complete; further encouraging positive behaviour in the form of choosing ‘efficient’ food combinations. 

saver points

Behaviour Change Strategies: 

'Real-time Feedback'; let users know how what they’re doing is affecting the system.
'Progress Bars'; let users know their progress towards a goal to make it seem more achievable.
'Challenges and Targets'; set people a challenge/give them a target to reach through what they’re doing. 

Rewards and Competition:

In addition to the group benefits of choosing the ‘efficient’ options, each individual user is also rewarded for making these choices. These points are then displayed in a leader-board; ranking each user by points earned and giving the winner of each month a night off from their cooking responsibilities.

This is an example of using social proof to engage a behaviour change, as users can see the progress of others and feel like they should be doing the same. Competition is also created between friends, encouraging more waste saving food choices as users want to beat one another.

house leaderboard

Behaviour Change Strategies: 

'Rewards'; encourage users to take up a behaviour by rewarding it through the design of the system.
'Social Proof'; show what other users are doing in the situation, and which choices are most popular.
'Making it Social'; show that most people perform the desired behaviour to encourage others to do the same.

Weekly Meal Plan and Payment:

A meal plan made a week in advance helps the user make a commitment to cook, as the rest of the group will be relying on them to cook when they are meant to. The ease of which users can swap days with one another ensures the solution has the necessary flexibility to accommodate different schedules and last minute changes - a key factor highlighted through my research. 

An automatic cost splitting function allows each user to pay for their share individually, targeting another primary area of concern identified as they don’t have to worry about the complexity of doing this themselves. This further encourages the use of the app as it helps to ease the friction of collective cooking by giving affordances to the whole process.

splitting cost and weekly plan

Behaviour Change Strategies: 

‘Help them make a commitment’; help them decide in advance to avoid impulsive/disruptive decisions. 
'Making it Easy'; help reduce 'friction costs' to make the difference between doing something and putting it off. 

screens arty

Project Date: 7th October 2016 - 10th February 2017
Project Team: Solo Project