In the last three classes before our final presentation at UNICEF HQ, we were really able to shape our idea and develop a potential product that we feel could be a useful asset for redistributors to help grocery stores, restaurants, homes deal with excess foods, and efficiently support charities and undernourished communities.
Three weeks ago, we
defined a problem statement: “The problem of inequality of food access affects people all over the world. How might we better redistribute wasted food from events, and local farms for low-income individuals in order to ensure access and education to healthy nutrition.”
created a systems diagram:
Developed a research plan: Our plan is to have contact with individuals from the CSA groups, soup kitchens and food redistribution sectors. We have reached out to the following groups and are trying to either have an face-to-face interview or a conversation on the phone: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1QqaiAaQ4fFr_-DNxNMvmM6vP_1rZbbh_JtMK-gsnZgQ/edit?ts=58e9da07#gid=0
Narrowed down our focus location:
We have decided to focus on tackling this problem in NYC and create a program that can be applied to other areas around the world.
We then wrote down a bunch of questions that were to use in our interviews:
- Could you explain your current process – what you do, how you do it?
- How many people do you reach? How do you determine who to reach?
- What type of food do you typically distribute? Is it sealed / opened / fresh? What factors determine what resources you receive, where you receive from, and who to distribute to?
- What’s working with your current food distribution plan? What are the a struggles?
- What’s your roadmap for the next year? Any challenges that are currently limiting expansion into other communities?
- How do you connect with the individuals in the community?
- How are the communities aware of your service?
- Do you collect feedback from the community about your service?
- What have we not brought up that we should have (only after explaining what we’re doing)
- Who else should we be talking to? Could you put us in touch with them.
We took all the information above and conducted many interviews to see if our idea would be helpful in the communities. We also attended the following food strategy workshops:
- https://www.eventbrite.com/e/april-forum-sustainable-food-systems-registration-33230377955?utm_source=eb_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=order_confirmation_email&utm_term=eventname&ref=eemailordconf(Mith will attend)
- https://events.nyu.edu/#!event_id/156493/view/event/date/20170420 (Chris will attend)
We were asked to find some poignant data points to support our research:
Global food waste is a major problem. In two minutes:
- 15,210 tonnes of food will be produced
- 10,267 tonnes of food will be consumed
- 4,943 tonnes of food will be wasted (that’s close to ONE-THIRD)
The average meal weighs 0.5 kg. ~5000 tonnes of wasted food could feed 10 Million people.
… losses incurred by food producers from this waste will exceed of $2.8 million USD globally by the time you reach the last line in this post. (Source: World Food Clock – we should fine their source(s) as well)
Global Undernourishment ~842,000,000 (12% of world population) (Source: World Food Clock – we should find their source(s) as well)
We estimate that the per capita food waste by consumers in Europe and North-America is
95-115 kg/year, while this figure in sub-Saharan Africa and South/Southeast Asia is only 6-11 kg/year. (source: FAO – dated study (2010-11))
In medium- and high-income countries food is to a significant extent wasted at the consumption stage, meaning that it is discarded even if it is still suitable for human consumption.
In low-income countries food is lost mostly during the early and middle stages of the food supply chain; much less food is wasted at the consumer level. (source: FAO – dated study (2010-11))
After some great conversations with people in the food industry, narrowed our problem statement down to: How might we streamline data access for food insecure communities between regions to reduce overall waste and improve nutrition?
And developed our proposal to be the following: An open ledger, that is platform diagnostic, of excess food within a region which individuals and organizations can contribute to and charities have access to appropriately disseminate the food within their communities.
We pitched this idea in class to our fellow classmates, teachers and guest critics with this initial deck.
We received some great feedback from this initial pitch and ultimately finalized our idea.
In the end we decided to propose a product called Nutrio (http://nutrio.world/): Using emerging technology, blockchain, to track and properly redistribute excess food.
Here is the slide deck from our presentation at UNICEF HQ.
To sum it up, this project was a great exercise in design thinking, product development and execution. I’m really happy to have been apart of this class and a team member on the Nutrio product.