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1.1      Background

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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 from households, together
combined contributes to huge 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 contribute to a more sustainable way of living and reduce food



The aim
of the major product is 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 cost instead of disposing it. The other option for
wasters is to send it to sustainable decomposition however a better option may
be to distribute surplus to the needy to meet social responsibilities.

In the current market,
almost double smartphones are being sold than personal computers with an
average smartphone user spending 30 hour monthly
on more than two dozen apps. The app market in the current market is huge 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 huge
range of users in the developed world.

Literature research plan

The literature search primarily aims
to find the dilemma is food wastage and the major 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 user
centred design, explaining what it is and how it is applied in interaction
design. I will briefly look at the 5 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. They are categorised into
apps for developed and developing countries.

Before I can proceed to creating 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 are shown. This section also considers the commitments
of the Leicester council in combating food waste. There I also some information
on who needs food. This will be useful to understand who to target the app on.

Finally, in the last chapter, I will
be considering the different stages for developing an app prototype. Lastly,
there will be description on material design and how it will be useful in
developing app prototype.


User Centred Design

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
is also required to achieve a sense of direction on user behaviour.

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.


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 communicate
ideas within the design process (Gillian Crampton Smith, )

Dimension of Interaction design

1D- Words:
represents semantics of the interaction. It uses word to prompt a message to
the users in that they will be able to process it quickly and effectively. A
single word may contain a certain meaning although they are also opening to
receive interpretation from users. It is therefore necessary to be selective
with the use of terminology and precisely represent an action.

2D- Visual
Representations: we can process the images and extract its meaning in a split
second. The visual content are elements that contribute to the overall look such
as diagrams, icons, typography.

3D- Physical
Objects: This are 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 interactions.

4D- Time:
This dimension enables users to make use of the physical objects in the 3 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 action within
the product. It is an indication of whether the user had completed an action

The existing apps on food donation

The amount
of surplus food available differs in every organisation and in every country,
therefore different approaches are provided by apps. Generally, they can be
categorised in apps within developed countries and developing countries.

Apps for Developed countries


The free
app connects people within 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.


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

(West Africa)

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.
The food is collected are redistributed to the homeless, orphanages, slums and
senior citizen. 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.



Food crisis

world is facing increasing demand on food. Conflict, price of food and natural
disasters contribute being the main reasons for food deficit. According to the
global report on food crisis, there were reports of 108 million people around
the world with crisis level food insecurity, 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 in risk of famine.

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.
This will ultimately lead to loss of assets and income. There are other
secondary implications to the shortage of such as malnutrition. This can directly
impact on vulnerable groups such as children, elderly and pregnant women. There
are inimical effects of conflict on food production and agriculture slows
economic and market development. About 3.3 million children and pregnant or
breastfeeding women are extremely malnourished of which including 462,000
children under five in severe malnutrition.

disasters are also major cause for food insecurity, the vulnerable countries
are those with limited facilities to deal with disaster with large population
and being less shock proof with infrastructure. One area of natural phenomenon
is El Nino. It is the biggest fluctuation of the earths 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 the droughts.

There was
a drastic 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.

high-cost food simply makes it hectic for the poor to survive. Although it is
a great 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 acute increase in prices caused
difficulties for many countries relying on maize. They were triggered by sharp
drop in cereal output and they related back to conflicts and climatic

Current efforts

are various players in reducing food waste. They range from efforts of global organisations
to individuals. Due to the enormity of the task, there is need to act in
partnership with other regional and international organisations. 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 chain’s must be targeted to systematically improve the efficiency and
sustainability for future generation. 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, 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

Food is a global 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 waste. 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.

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 greater 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 are
encouragement to conduct research on waste prevention strategies and to
understand the major reasons for food waste. The research hopes to determine
the most sufficient staff, leaders and customers to initiate industry best
practice campaign.

Local: Leicester council-

The council is one of the many counties within UK to sign up
for zero waste landfill commitment. It is dedicated to reducing the
environmental impact with a full waste segregated collection service. The main forms of waste include food
waste such as peelings, leftovers, expired food and others. The collected food waste from homes is turned to a
product though in-vessel composting. Otherwise there is an anaerobic digestion
facility whereby organic material are broken down by micro-organisms in
the absence of oxygen, to produce renewable energy. The collected material is used
to produce soil improvers of PAS100 standard.

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 created at home.

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.

Ways to donate food

How can business organisations

Examples of where businesses
can donate to:

to FoodCycle. A community based approach is provided whereby members volunteer to
produce meals from surplus food material. The meals using excess ingredients
would hope to change attitudes towards wasting them. The meals are distributed
to those in need.

to FoodSave, they focus on small food business around London to deal with surplus
food and help raise awareness of how to dispose waste in a responsible manner,
concentrating on anaerobic digestion and composting.

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 to?

Donate directly to your local charity
foodbank – you can directly 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 a good source to donate to.

          Donate at collection points in
supermarkets across the country. Major supermarkets such as Tesco are making a
difference though creating food ‘collection point’ in partnership with food
charities ‘The Trussell Trust’ and ‘FareShare’. There is acceptance for long
life food donated by customers who come to Tesco.

 Donate to collection hosted at local schools,
churches and businesses. Donations by individuals will remind others of their
social responsibility, the act of contributing to the society and to fulfil
their civic duty as a human being.

food banks

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 conducted research on 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.


Design Cycle


Designing an app prototype follows several stages inclusive of iterative
processes. With 77% of users never using an app after 3 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 key stages of app prototype development.

The primary stage is to define the app. This means that there should be a
clear description of the problem that is being 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 is expected from the app. The
information collected will consist of both primary and secondary research
inclusive of qualitative and quantitative information. 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

Wireframing is essential to build the body for the app, it will enable
the designer to visualise the key element of the app and how the objects would
be arranged on screen. Research into User psychology will help to enhance the user
experience. Wireframes are construction either using free hand 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.

Material Design

Material design is a unified system combining theory, resources and tools
for enhancing users digital experience. Material design follows a set of principles
that are consistent in style, branding elements and interaction. Material components
allows beautiful, modular and customisable UI components.

Material design follows several guidelines on the areas of motion, style,
layout, usability, platforms and resources. The aim of material design is to
create a visual language that emphasis on good 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 a
good sense of space and system of motion transforms the entire design. Within
material design the elements such as 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 immediate impact on the way user perceives information.

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