Ruokapal

Food waste management service

food waste management system

Project name: Ruokapal

Launch date: March, 2015

Our challenge

Having been living in Finland for a while, I’ve been wondering for a long time why the government does not align itself with European standards for the redistribution of unconsumed food. I have been living in Finland since 2007, I have become familiar with the culture, its advantages, and disadvantages in this fascinating Baltic country.

Over the years I realized that despite the opportunity to make soon-to-be expired food available at discounted prices, there was still no regulation that effectively prevented retailers from throwing away large amounts of perfectly safe to consume food.

After thorough research, it was clear that there were no proposed bills or laws addressing the current situation.

Our approach to food waste management

We felt compelled to do something in order to raise Finnish people’s awareness about this issue. We came up with our project for recycling and preventing the wasting of unconsumed or unsold food. At the same time, we observed that at the beginning of 2015 the estimated number of asylum seekers and refugees increased throughout Europe, including Finland.

It was really immoral that a great deal of food was going to be wasted. While thousands of people living with an insufficient minimum income didn’t have access to the most nutritious food, especially given the rather prohibitive price throughout Finland.

The project represented a great challenge we have started with drawing up a journey map of the waste management system.

Over a period of three months, we have inquired and conducted thorough research in order to understand in the most accurate way the entire process as accurately as possible.

We have arranged visits to the waste disposal facilities from small grocery stores to larger shopping malls.
We have explored and experimented by getting an authentic, first-hand experience of food quantities wasted daily, weekly and monthly.

Assesment outcomes

The gathered data outcome has been even more disturbing than previously thought, with an estimate of 65000 – 75000 tons of food wasted every year.

The alarming factor we have identified is that store owners did not feel compelled to resolve the issue of the massive amount of wasted food, given that the government seemed to tolerate this rather horrible situation.

Therefore, the mentality of people, both consumers and vendors did not reflect on the values ​​of equality, unity, and well-being which usually Finland is known globally.

“Every year, the food that is thrown from the shops amounts to 65-75 million pounds, about 2% of the food that arrives at the store.

Its value is 90 million euros. In Finland, the wastes of food in stores cause about 0.5% of global gas emissions greenhouse ..”

Towards the end of this research time, we started to come up with possible concepts that we presented to the current group with these ideas.

The various proposals were introduced in the form of cards that allow the group to share ideas and create better solutions together.

food recycling prototype

The process

It was obvious that digital products currently available, such as the store seeker for soon-to-be expired food products, were simply inadequate to combat ongoing food waste.

In fact we were looking for a more radical solution.

We have then decided to draft a bill proposal and submit it via the Finnish platform.

food waste bill petition

“Grocery stores are required to highlight the food nears the expiry date. The shop can do it with its own means or in collaboration with food aid organizations. The obligation may initially be limited to department stores. The

Food waste storage facilities are prohibited, as is the destruction of unsold food, for example through chemicals or packaging.

The output of the bill was not successful at the time. However, we were able to use the data acquired to transform the way people thought of food consumption.

We have involved more families in our co-creation process, in a few weeks we were able to start experiencing some changes.

Interest was raised, encouraging collaboration within our environment with quizzes, games for the youngest by creating an extremely productive and friendly workflow that has inspired many interesting ideas for a framework that can be replicated by many groups and communities, large and small cities and countries around the world.

We also designed a prototype with interactions thought and developed it according to our findings and how users would interact with it.

The prototype

We also designed a prototype with interactions thought and developed it according to our findings and how users would interact with it.

It is possible to simply tell the page which food you have left or unused in the fridge and the application suggests recipes to be prepared. 

And by talking we really mean this, the computer microphone is used in order to create the recipe, a service that does not need manual interaction and allows to juggle a busy life while making dinner plans.

Besides being a recipe generator there are also other features a  community with available suggestions, an overview of how much food has been saved more frequently and a general graph illustrating where people are saving more food.

We also arranged trips for the little ones to see where their food comes from, allowing them to ask questions to farmers and breeders during those visits.

prototype food waste

Results

Shortly after we started witnessing a gradual shift, increasingly more effective, towards greater awareness of food maintenance and consumption.
DesignDiverso has triggered a life-changing movement that resonated throughout Finland, influencing consumers’ behavior and lifestyle.

The results amounted to around € 50 million in savings on waste processing and, above all, the value of food that is not gone to waste.

We have effectively changed for the better the way consumers go about their daily grocery buying forever.

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