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F O P A T

Wasted!

2020, Biomimicry

Biodesign

Research

Social Design

Climate change

Food Industry

Packaging

User experience

System Design

The global food system is responsible for up to one-third of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, making it one of the largest contributors to climate change.

In the United States alone, 40 percent of food gets wasted every year.
 
FoPat is a temperature-sensitive indicator for food freshness. It takes the form of a flat label or a tie-around band on the fruit or vegetable. It helps you store your food at the right temperature, and reduces food waste by indicating when your food spoils, unlike the uncertain expiry date labels.

 

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The million-dollar food waste problem

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When food is disposed of in a landfill, it rots and becomes a significant source of methane - a potent greenhouse gas with 23 times
the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. The global food system is responsible for up to one-third of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, making it one of the largest contributors to climate change.

This comes with a heavy carbon footprint

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Where?

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Over-Preparation Food spoilage Date Label confusion

Poor Planning
Overbuying

Why?

How can we indicate the freshness/status of stored food (plant-based) to prevent food spoilage in homes?

Biologize

Food
Edible
Skin

Convenient

Juice

Absorption

Sense
Store

Dispose

Cooking

Preservation

Mixing

Memory

Transport

Potato peel

Language

Emotion

Habits

Fast

Energy

Anxiety

Care

Does nature produce waste?
How does nature handle/reduce waste?

How does nature transport/move solids or liquids?

How does nature process signals?
Does nature have a language?
How does nature coordinate activities?

How does nature store/preserve food?

How does nature absorb food?

How does nature protect itself? A protective barrier or defense mechanisms?

 

Ask Nature

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The research about food waste helped me define the question for the design problem. Keywords and similar situations are laid out in the natural context, according to the biomimicry spiral approach.

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Discover

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Abstract design strategies

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References from nature are compared to the defined challenge to find natural solutions. Inspiration from animal skin textures as a defense mechanism (Porcupine fish) and bioluminescence as a sensory response (Vibrio fischeri bacteria) further led to the abstraction of possible design strategies to reduce food waste.

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Evaluating the problem

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An estimated 80 percent of Americans prematurely discard food due to confusion over the meaning of date labels (e.g., “sell by,” “best if used by,” “expires by,” and so forth). In reality, “sell by” and “use by” dates are not federally regulated and only serve as manufacturer suggestions for peak quality.

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The 

solution

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Fo Pat is a temperature-sensitive food label that indicates the freshness of fruits and vegetables. It is designed to be a flat label or band for vegetable bundles. It helps you store your food at the right temperature, and reduces food waste by providing a better and reliable date label mechanism, unlike the vague expiry date.

06

The label is a color indicator for
the status/freshness of food. The label reacts with the gases produced by the fruits and vegetables to change color from fresh orange to past best red. It is a food freshness indicator. The color indicating layer gradually disintegrates to reveal a bumpy layer below. The tactile sensation indicates the expiry of food. Therefore, this label is also suitable for visually impaired users.

 

The other half of the label contains information about the barcode and origin of the produce. It also contains an NFC sensor to enable smartphone readings.

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The other half is a peel-off label that can be further lifted to reveal an underside information section. The underside provides valuable education about the fruit or vegetable.

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This label replaces the existing label that is seen on fruits and vegetables in retail stores. This design is meant to improve the technology and develop an active label that can :

 

  • Tackle food waste by providing

       a better and a direct date label                     mechanism.

 

  • Change consumer behavior by providing a piece of interactive fold-out information and further build our connection with food.

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Active label

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