Eating for Earth is a project that tackled the challenge of educating and helping students make healthier and more environmentally friendly food consumption choices. Food production and consumption are the leading causes of global warming, overfishing, and deforestation to name a few. After learning that many students at UCSD are unaware of the effects that food production and consumption have on the environment, we created a planner that educates and guides students to a healthier and more informed lifestyle.
- User research
- Product design
Through our research we learned a lot about how damaging food production methods are to the environment. Not only is this the leading cause of global warming, but also causes overfishing, dead zones, deforestation, and animal cruelty. The other aspect we learned about was the affect food production methods have on our health. Meat consumption is at an all time high which is leading to higher rates of heart disease and overall decline in health at an earlier age. Due to the enormity and complexity of this challenge area, we decided to narrow down our target audience to UCSD students in order to gain more insights.
We talked to 30 students on campus about their food consumption habits, purchasing habits, and meal prepping. We observed how students make decisions in grocery stores and we interviewed them by inquiring about their knowledge in what it means to eat sustainably and whether this is something they are aware of when grocery shopping. The key insights we gained through the needfinding process were that students don’t know what it means to eat sustainably or how to do so. We also discovered that over half of students are concerned with their health and want to eat better but either don’t have the time or claim that it is too expensive.
We analyzed the psychographics of our target audience and four dimensions to keep in mind: their interests, identities, motivations, and irritations.
- UCSD Students
- Average age 18-23
- Access to kitchen space
- Able to cook for themselves
Classified as "New"
He has no knowledge of the harmful impact of unsustainable eating and is not interested in learning about greener eating to mitigate the impact.
Classified as "Neutral"
She is interested in learning more about sustainable eating and wants to help. She is also open to the idea of eating more sustainably not only for herself, but also for the environment.
Classified as "Experienced"
He has a high interest in sustainable and green eating and is already practicing and engaging in discovering new sustainable eating habits.
We came up with approximately 25 ideas to address our challenge. We placed them on a 2x2 matrix that let us see the distribution of influence and accessibility of each idea. We measured influence by how likely we thought our users would adopt our idea since breaking and changing habits are difficult to achieve. For accessibility, we considered factors such as cost, feasibility, and reach of our ideas.
Our design solution had to be quick, accessible, and provide students with easy, fast ways to learn about sustainable eating in order to be the most effective. For this reason, the two prototypes we decided to create were:
A social media campaign that would allow students to learn facts and tips about sustainable, healthy eating through images, videos, and digital content.
A planner that would allow students to track their food consumption over a year and gain insights through facts, quotes, recipes, as well as be able to set long term goals to a healthier lifestyle.
Prototype 1: Social Media Campaign
The social media prototype consisted of 3 hypothetical social media campaigns to showcase different styles and content.
Prototype 2: Meal Planner
We created the meal planner prototype in Adobe Illustrator which consisted of a weekly spread that users were able to physically touch and write on. It also consisted of a sample page of information on sustainable eating and a page where users can set their health goals.
We tested both prototypes on over 30 UCSD students. We asked users questions about the social media campaign and found reasons why people liked or disliked certain ones. We also found out that although users liked the idea of the social media campaign, they expressed that they wouldn't be very likely to actually follow it.
We tested the meal planner by allowing users to physically hold and interact with the planner by writing in it. We found that many users liked the idea of the planner but were hesitant on if they would be willing to carry it with them every day. Users also expressed that they found the goal setting page to be too vague.
Based off of user testing feedback, we decided to continue with the meal planner prototype for our final design solution as users were overall more receptive to the idea of a planner rather than a social media platform for education. We made the planner more interactive with a more realistic goal setting page and more space to write in meals during the day. We also added informational pages about what it means to eat sustainably, how to do so, and helpful hints and tips.