UglyFresh is the only supply chain service in India that sells fresh and healthy ugly food direct to consumers in urban cities through an online channel. It also provides easy to follow recipes that simplify cooking, tips and suggestions that help extend shelf life of fresh produce, and stories and insights into farmers and their lives. This enables users to be cook faster, be more efficient in the kitchen, helps them to look at farmers and food in a different way, all while helping to reduce food waste in India. This service aims to help change the way consumers to look at fresh produce, specifically ugly food, in a very different light. UglyFresh deals with mainly ugly fresh produce at the time being. However, there is in place a plan for the near future, where UglyFresh will collect food waste from households, and recycle that in order to make manure. This manure will then be sold to the farmers at a fair rate. This creates a trust and link between farmers and the service. Future plans also include selling pulses, lentils, legumes, and other fresh farm produce.
Interface and Interaction Modality
UglyFresh has two main touch points for the consumers – the website and the mobile application. For the purpose of the thesis project, the mobile application was decided as the focus. The final output is an Android application meant for mobile phones. It was designed and prototyped using Adobe XD.
The technology that was used to design the information architecture was Adobe Illustrator. The wireframes were designed in Adobe Illustrator initially, but as the design and complexity began to increase, it was shifted to Adobe XD. The final screens were both designed and prototyped in Adobe XD.
The mobile application was designed specifically for young urban Indians between the age group of eighteen and thirty-five. The visual language and screens had to be designed keeping their age group in mind, ensuring that it appeals to them on every level. The flow of the application is simple, yet engaging, with barely any learning curve. This is so, mainly due to the screens having been designed strictly with accordance to Material Design guidelines. The main interaction element of the mobile application are the various types of cards that were used. Cards are a mainstay in Android application design, and using this gives a sense of familiarity to the design.
Research and Development Context
Through the research phase of the project, a lot of problems that lead to food wastage became apparent. There are macro level factors such as global warming and climate change, economy, and socio-political issues that all affect food security of people and are difficult to solve. Micro level factors on the other hand deal more with human related issues such as mismanagement, bad decision making, and inefficient systems in place. Micro level factors also have a big impact on food security also impact food wastage. These micro level factors are ones that are relatively easier to solve, and for the purpose of the thesis project, these factors were focused on.
A country that is as big as India, a whole host of factors add up and lead to food wastage at every level of the food supply chain. Food waste is observed at the farm level mainly because of inefficient farming practices. During the supply chain, distribution and logistics the food waste occurs because of a lack of advanced technology and a lack of cold chain systems that are vital in keeping highly perishable food and farm produce from getting spoilt. Processing outlets and factories do not have the necessary advanced technology in food manufacturing, they lack good cold chain equipment, and they also partake in inefficient storing practices. All of these contribute a great deal in food waste occurring at the processing level. At the retail level, inefficient systems, mismanagement, and bad decision making contribute to food wastage. There was one issue that cropped up in each and every stage of the supply chain – discarding farm produce based on aesthetics. This was chosen as the main focus of the thesis project. Surveys were conducted in order to gauge whether or not the project had any scope, and it turned out that consumers were quite open to the idea of ugly food. After another survey to a targeted group of people and studying the various insights derived from the research, it was evident that there was quite a big scope for ugly food in the market. Through the market research, it was noted that there was a large void in the market. No company sells ugly food directly to consumers, as the ugly food movement in India is at a nascent age. The willingness seen in the consumers, and the gap seen in the market is what lead to the concept of UglyFresh.