Reducing food waste

with virtual fridge app.

FreshFriend helps college students reduce their food waste by being more conscious about purchased items and expiration dates.




I worked on:


User Experience Design

4 students

Marvel, Adobe XD, lo-fi and hi-fi prototyping

How do students interact with food?

My team broke down the food cycle into three phases (buying, cooking, and eating) and determined that the processes of purchasing and preparing food contributed most to food waste. 


We conducted student interviews and consolidated three observations from their responses.


  1. people cook specific recipes or randomly combine familiar ingredients

  2. students often have cluttered fridges due to roommates

  3. people have misconceptions about food expiration dates

How does this translate into food waste?

The two main reasons for an item expiring was due to unfamiliarity with how to cook it and forgetting about it because of its lack of visibility in the fridge. Using the observations from the interviews, we created a persona.

The two main reasons for expired items were because it was: 

  • not visible in the fridge and was therefore forgotten about

  • an unfamiliar item purchased without knowledge of how to cook it


Using the observations from the interviews, we created a persona.

What Would Martina Want?

With our persona in mind, we brainstormed three solutions:

  1. fridge calendar interface

  2. virtual fridge mobile application

  3. color-coded fridge bins

Each solution had its own strength - the calendar presented easily digestible information in a central location, the app was always accessible and could be organized to reflect food preferences, and the bins were interactive and simplified the cooking process. People needed a way of keeping track of their purchased food items, so we came up with two potential input methods: a barcode scanner and a receipt scanner. 

Incorporating Feedback

Individuals disliked the barcode scanner because it was tedious and required the fridge to stand open for too long. People preferred the mobile app over the calendar interface and the color-coded bins because it was portable. 

User testing helped us narrow down to one solution: a virtual fridge mobile application that works in conjunction with a physical receipt scanner. 

barcode scanner

receipt scanner

No More Shopping Lists

FreshFriend simplifies a process that people participate in daily - cooking. This virtual fridge prevents situations of guilt from thrown away food by reminding users of upcoming expiration dates, reduces anxiousness around cooking by providing recipe suggestions that incorporate purchased items, and supports the college lifestyle filled with people and often shared fridges.

receipt scanner prototype

© 2018 by Nadia Jamrozik.