Inspiration: I was inspired to do this project one day when I was at a grocery store with my dad. I was heading to pick some yogurt cups when I found out the ones I had picked were over a week expired. This got me thinking; how much food do supermarkets waste? After some research, I found out that supermarkets waste about 43 billion pounds of food, and that's just in the United States. For this reason, I wanted to build an app that was able to alert supermarkets about near expiry food, allowing them to donate it to food banks or needy people. Also, I wanted to build the app so that households could prioritize items that expire soon and consume them rather than letting them expire and go to waste. Additionally, I made a website so that local food banks and supermarkets could communicate (by submitting forms) and be paired to ease the process of food donations. One of the problems that many people face during this pandemic is not having or being able to afford food. The supply food banks have are getting exhausted with the increased number of people who need food, and food banks desperately need more food to give to people. I believe that with this app, not only will we be able to cut down on food wastage, we will also be able to provide this food to those who need it the most.
What it does: Supermarkets: When people shelf items, they can scan the item's barcode with my app, enter the item's expiry date, and the quantity of the same item. With this, the app stores all the items into a product list, where it stores the UPC (barcode), date of expiry, the product's name (which it retrieves from the barcode), the product's quantity, and the product's image. Then, the supermarket managers can run a query on the product list, entering a date, and it will return all of the products that expire either on or before that date. Supermarkets would be okay with donating these foods as consumers would not want to buy near expired products and it is better for them to be consumed by the needy and hungry rather than letting them become expired and ending up in the landfill. Also, if many supermarkets use this app, the government could recognize their efforts and give tax breaks as well. Finally, all supermarkets using this app will gain a lot of publicity for their work to reduce food waste, and will also be featured on my website. Households: In America, households waste approximately 31.9% of the food they obtain. By using the app, households will be able to scan all of the items that enter their house and run expiry reports in order to learn what products are expiring soon. With this knowledge, they can prioritize these foods for consumption, cutting down on their food wastage and saving them money in the process, as they will buy less food from supermarkets. The less food that they buy from supermarkets, the more food that can be donated to those who need it the most.
How I built it: The app uses a barcode API, from which it can obtain the product's name and image. The website was made using WIX and helps food banks and supermarkets connect to start the food donation process.
Challenges I ran into: The main challenges I ran in to were querying the product list, as it required a lot of logical thinking and trial and error.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of: Some accomplishments I am proud of was creating an app where I learned and used a lot of new functions I have never tried before and integrated an API into my app. Also, I have never built a website using WIX before, and I was very happy to see how it had come out.
What I learned: I learned how to create advanced apps and also how to create websites (with the help of WIX).
What's next for No Food Waste: Through funding, I can purchase the premium version of the barcode API, as right now, it only allows 100 searches a day per device. Also, I can create a more user-friendly platform with better UI and integrate more query features, but time constraints did not allow me to do so. I can definitely make the website more professional (with funding I can upgrade my account and buy my own domain) and can also make this app available on iOS devices.
What have I done during this hackathon: I have had the idea for this project for some time, and recently created an app, but this app was completely not functional and had a terrible UI. Also, it didn't have many of the components I planned for it to have. For this reason, I created a whole new app and a website to go along with in order to implement all of the functions I desired my solution to have.