A project created at SD Hacks 2019 by Quylan Mac, Parth Shah, Amy An, and Vedparkash Singh.
We created this project with the idea in mind that there is 1.3 billion of tons of food that gets wasted especially due to the misinterpretation of expiration dates. We wanted to target individuals who are busy, forgetful, or not knowledgeable about the high percentage of waste and its effects on the environment.
Our user experience includes a scenario in which we add items to our grocery list before or during going shopping. Once the items are purchased, then the user will check them off and have the ability to see the expiration date underneath their list. We know that many people would still forget about this expiration date, so we used the Twilio API to connect a database of the user's inputted groceries mapped to its expiration date which then calculates when the expiration date is 1 day away. Then, the Twilio API helps us send a text message to the user informing them of the nearing of the expiration!
The back-end of this project made heavy use of the creation of a database that could store the user's input grocery items and add it to a pairing with its corresponding expiration date. To this, we first scraped data off of the website eatbydate.com to gather a CSV file of a wide range of grocery items and their expiration dates. Then, we used this parsed CSV file to create a database within PHP my Admin. In PHP, we were able to take user input and then search through a table until it found a match with the key of the grocery item. It then gathered the associated expiration date and added it to the pair in the user's grocery list.
Our user challenges included the inability to remember expiration dates, difficulties visually seeing things that may be placed in hard to see areas (pantry, back of fridge, etc.), and not wanting to overbuy ingredients they already may have. Thus, we made the goals of our project to revolve around saving money on groceries, being less wasteful and conscious to the environment, and staying organized.
There are competitors with similar challenges and goals in mind; projects such as FoodKeeper provide a method by which the user can search for a specific food item to then add to a calendar and get its expiration date, however, the UI is cluttered and may be more of an inconvenience than a viable grocery list to its regular user.
Future improvements we wanted to touch on included being able to have a secondary page or screen in which the user could more easily see and differentiate their grocery list from purchased groceries. Also, we looked to implement the database that we already created in a way that the user's input text would be auto-filled by its possible key within the server. This would make it easier for the user to fill out their grocery list by giving them a way to skip ahead and choose what they want to add to the list. We also wanted to upload this website live and onto a server that could host server-side code as we relied on PHP and myAdmin to implement our project.
Citations: https://www.w3schools.com/ http://www.fao.org/nr/sustainability/food-loss-and-waste/en/ https://www.nrdc.org/media/2013/130918 https://shiftdesign.org/content/uploads/2014/09/Shift_Food-Waste-inisghts.pdf http://www.eatbydate.com/eggs-shelf-life-expiration-date// http://www.fao.org/save-food/resources/keyfindings/en/