CoCart: A Healthy and Efficient Co-purchase Solution for College Students

This is a project I worked with @Fah, @Ipsita and @Tim for the course Integrated Product Development Methods. Together we sought to break barriers for college students with limited cooking experience and resources to prepare healthy meals.

We decided to leverage the community to enhance meal-planning experiences for students.

The team interviewed 10+ college students we found that brought their own meals to school. We also interviewed a few to understand their reasons and what was keeping them from doing it. The research boiled down to two key findings:

We realize that the variety in food is important for both the balance of nutrition and the perception and enjoyment of the meal. However, students usually live alone or do not share meals with their roommates. They will have to consume any single kind of ingredient for consecutive days for fear of throwing it away. They also incline to slide towards fast and easy solutions which is not-healthy because of the lack of motivation and support.

Secondary research on external factors backed-up our finding by evidencing the importance college students attach to to social relations, and the heavy financial burdens. They also point us towards the direction of sharing economy, which builds trust and is willingly adapted by the young.

We compared the current state with what we want to achieve, and identified 4 key values that we want to augment for the users. We derived product requirements from the full analysis and prioritized accordingly.

The team put together their creativity and came up with an array of promising solutions. Among those, CoCart won out. Other options include building upon current resources (the university food pantry) or introducing sharing and collaboration in other phases of meal preparation.

CoCart offers the possibility of bulk-buying with friends, so students will be able to enjoy a cheaper cost. This extends their friendship into a new dimension, and the “peer pressure” or rather support from friends will help them lean towards healthier choices. They can find people to co-purchase with filters regarding their location, school and items to buy.

The solution we proudly deliver addresses the core problem users report as stated above, and stirs up an enjoyable experience.

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