snackpass: powering food rescue

client: ZeroPercent // time: 3 weeks // my role: research, strategy & prototype // team: eugy & sharath

press: The Chicago Tribune, The Impact Engine, Built in Chicago


the challenge

ZeroPercent wanted to create revenue to support businesess operations of rescuing meals and redistributing them to charities. They explored selling snacks from participating restaurants at a discounted rate as a solution. However, they faced the challenge of differentiating themselves from others already doing this, such as Groupon and Yelp.

the outcome

After researching the market and users, my team strategized a new angle with which to market SnackPass:

a solution for socially-conscious hungry people. SnackPass satisfies and converts munchies into a force that drives food rescue efforts. 


the strategy

From market and user reserach, we learned that preople do not lean equally towards any two things in a package deal--usually one of these two is the driving factor. For example, Toms Shoes are mainly popular because of their cool factor and the extra pair that's donated is only a plus.

Drawing insights from this, SnackPass strategizes to make its soical impact clear and connected to the user's actions--giving it an edge against its competitors. However, functionality-wise, touchpoints foucs on providing users the best expereince in finding and claiming snacks during ther mid-day destress breaks.

The interface of SnackPass is simple & functional: users can get straight to their objective of finding delicious snacks nearby. In an unobtrusive manner, lies information on number of meals the user has rescued and donated to charities with the duration of their membership. If and when the user wants, perhaps while walking to the snack location, she may peek into a more in-depth version of their impact. Visualized through a timeline, the user can view exactly which charities their money has gone to and the change that charity has made, exuding transparency & honesty.



continue reading to view my process.


01. Research & Insights

According to USDA estimates, between 30-50% percent of all food produced is discarded. Meanwhile, 1 in 6 Americans have difficulty finding enough to eat. 

ZeroPercent rescues surplus edible food from businesses and redistributes them to charitable nonprofits, tackling both food waste & hunger in Chicago. The logistics of their business model, from transportation to human labor, can become costly. To create more revenue, ZeroPercent explored selling food from participating restaurants at a discounted rate. However, why would people want to come to them when services like Groupon are already doing this?

While we were not able to answer this right away, we discovered a key insight from the market, experts and most important, our users. 

social impact v. product attractiveness --both do not win equally. usually one drives the other is an extra perk. 

transparency of impact - users want to where their money goes and who it impacts.

social & emotional engagement - users are more likely to participate in something if their friends are doing it too, or if they can share with friends


02. Design Principles

To help us ideate to address our problem of finding a way to help SnackPass subscribers view and redeem their monthly snacks while feeling the positive social impact of the contribution, we set some principles.

show me the impact: gain users' trust with a clarity on where their contribution goes

accommodate my lifestyle: make it easy to take advantage of their rewards

elevate me: give users a nice break to refresh during the day

make me feel connected: allow users to feel the change in someone else's life


03. Rough Concepts & User Feedback

This version focused on gaining the user's trust by showing the meals delivered to those in need because of their purchases. It uses a strong visual indicator to delineate the user's membership as a component of time and translate this into meals delivered per unit of time. 

Design principle: Show me the impact

User feedback: User's wanted to see real numbers and facts of the impact, however not if it intruded their snack purchasing process.


This version integrated users friends and family into the overall process to make it more about doing things with people around you as a community effort.

Design Principle: make me feel connected

User Feedback: the structure and circles confused many, but they did really appreciate being able to share their actions with others who can provide them with approval. 


This version used a pick-up and drop-off meals game to incentivize users to redeem more snacks for greater impact.

Design Principle: Elevate me

User Feedback: Most users became frustrated at having to learn and play a game in order to get a snack and see their impact. 


04. Bringing it all together  

Combining the best tested concepts and interactions from both paper and Axure prototypes, we created a final version that reflects a design guided by our users mental model and subconscious desires for immediate satisfaction, approval from others, and ease of accomplishing goal.

Axure prototypes  of making a strong connection to the impact. 

Axure prototypes of making a strong connection to the impact. 

05. Takeaways and Future Considerations

There are many things we learned during the process of designing SnackPass. Below are a few insights that our team presented for suggestions on further improvement:

Keep testing and refining the redemption process. There were difficulties creating a seamless redemption process for users due to the 2-step process (claiming and holding) delineated by the business model. It creates confusion for users, thus an easier and quicker way of redeeming the snack from business will make SnackPass more attractive. 

Onboarding for communicating material. Though the best of apps do not require on-boarding for users to get the hang of it, in this case an on-boarding of the exact process behind snacks claimed and meals delivered may motivate and gain users' trust early on. 

Visual design recommendations. Pictures of text appeals to users when they're looking at meals to eat.