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A mobile application that tackles personal waste through food tracking, repurposing ideas, and smarter shopping with just one picture of your grocery receipt!

Product Designer/Project Lead

Ron Kang Chew, Shanice Lam, Abbey Mui

8 Weeks, Fall 2019

Sketch, Photoshop, Figma, InDesign, iMovie


project ask

Come up with an innovative digital service for any problem space.

project overview

This project was part of my Digital Service Innovation class. We were individually tasked with coming up with digital services to tackle current problems and voted on the top ideas to form teams. For my selected project, I served as a Project Lead - guiding the strategic decisions that my team took. My team focused on food waste as our problem space.

my role

I served at the product designer and project lead for our team - crafting both the vision for our product and also doing the visual branding.The food waste idea was my initial proposal, so I was really excited the idea was chosen!


This class culminated in an investor pitch and valuation by local Pittsburgh leaders. Our team placed third in the pitch competition!


My team focused on food waste as our problem space.

It has impacts food security, and affects the climate and resource conservation. Food that could be used to feed hungry families eventually adds up to 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

One of the initial inspirations for this project was an app called Too Good to Go - that helps restaurants sell leftover meals for a cheaper price at the end of the day.

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introducing lemon.

A mobile application that tackles personal waste with just one picture of your grocery receipt! Lemon has three key features:

Feature 1 food tracking

Feature 2 repurposing ideas

Feature 3 smarter shopping

user flow

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restaurant interviews

We first started by trying to reducing waste from a restaurant's perspective. Our team spoke to buffets, fast food, fresh food, and sit-downs and asked them about their waste/donation habits.

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Minimizing waste for restaurants is difficult.

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Waste is a personal problem.

We tried to look at produce waste from the perspective of grocery stores - asking about wasted produce and shopper habits. By talking to shoppers and managers at local grocery stores (ex: Giant Eagle) we found that:

Stores are always fully stocked so customers don't run to competitors.

02 Customers expect perfect, identically shaped produce.

Thus, retailers must stock according to customer expectations and waste becomes a problem at the individual shopper level.

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User interviews were conducted to better understand where people waste food along the grocery lifecyle. A plate of spoiled food was used as an artifact to evoke the sentiment surrounding food gone bad. We interviewed 10 candidates and found that 80% of candidates had some issue keeping track of food.

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Team dissecting the grocery store interviews to find pain points.


  • motivated by money
  • always in a bind for time
  • impulse shopping is a major problem
  • buy too much food
  • don't know when things go bad - even moms!
  • throw away food too quickly
  • pay little attention to waste.

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    Based on the initial insights, we created a paper prototype of an all encompassing platform, taking inspiration from the likes of Blue Apron and Hello Chef. Most people felt the service was promising, but too overwhelming with its features.

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    Our main problem stems from users not understanding expiry dates or when food goes bad.

    Thus our service, Lemon, was born.

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    We created storyboards and user tested them. The in-fridge smart camera was a huge privacy concern, while a picture of the receipt was the most well received.

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    style guidelines

    initial mobile flow

    app walkthrough + analysis

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    demo day

    Our team placed third at the demo day pitch where we presented to leaders in the Pittsburgh community! We pitched our idea as a freemium model with a paid premium product.The investors loved our branding and how simple yet effective the idea was!

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    If this app were to be implemented and put on the market, I would use the following measures of success:

    01 Number of new app downloads
    02 Cost saved
    03 % of food thrown away before going bad from each grocery trip
    04 Number of people joining based on referral from current members
    05 Qualitative testimonials


    This project was rewarding for me because this was the first time I really got to lead a team through the entirety of the project, given that it was all my team members' first times taking an HCI class. I also took charge of branding, logo, and visuals, something I typically shy away from. Doing well at the demo was incredible for me and made me feel that I have really taken my design practice to the next level! Some improvements:

    01 Always think about the selling point from the consumer + business standpoint.
    Even though this was a user focused project, it was important when pitching to investors to think about how they would make money if they invested in the product. I learnt that it's important to blend being user-centric with being focused on the money-making principles in order to make a product go to market successfully.

    02 Provide market validation of a product
    We were commended on our research and validation of the idea, however my team never went out and tested the app and its functionality. If given more time, we would definitely go out and do some usability testing.