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Fresh Lids: Prevent food waste and save money while helping the environment!

Food management application that alerts you of upcoming expiration dates and provides recipes for perishable food items in storage.

Photo of Ri Caragol
10 17

Written by

Mission Statement

Fresh Lids aims to save you money while reducing food waste. 

I created Fresh Lids while throwing away food. As I tossed the spoiled food in the garbage, I said to myself, wouldn't it be great if I could be notified that my food is about to spoil? If I knew food was about to go bad, I could consume it instead of throwing it away. I realized I wasn't only generating unnecessary waste; I was also throwing away money. Then began the journey to think about an efficient solution to this problem, and eureka, Fresh Lids was born.

Instead of throwing food out because you forgot it was in your fridge or pantry, Fresh Lids will alert you about upcoming expiration dates. Fresh Lids will then help you find recipes you can use your food with, helping you save money and reducing waste at the same time. Food visibility is a big part of the reason we forget about perishable goods that may be in our fridge. Fresh Lids aims to solve this problem by providing the user with alerts and notifications to address the issue.  

  • Save Money: Every food item we throw out is money down the drain.
  • Reduce Waste: Why waste when we can consume?
  • Recipe Finder: Find Recipes with what is in your Fresh Lids list.
  • Food visibility: Always have a list of Fresh Lids scanned items right in your pocket.
  • Notifications: Be notified before the expiration date arrives.
  • Data Points: Receive estimates of how much money you've saved and how much waste you've reduced.

Why Fresh Lids?

Fresh Lids is a simple and elegant solution to a big problem, food visibility and food waste. With the help of the Fresh Lids application you can scan smart labels, which you paste on reusable food containers, or you can also simply scan an item's barcode. Once the label is scanned, the user can read or write information about the contents of the food container. If the item already has a barcode, Fresh Lids will hook up to a product database and will attempt to fetch the product's information, populating the form's fields with  the retrieved data. Fresh Lids will give you an estimate of how long the food you are storing usually keeps in your pantry, fridge or freezer and before the expiration date arrives the application alerts you and even gives you possible recipes to use your perishable goods with. If the food you are storing already has an expiration date, you can always use that instead. Fresh Lids also works with items that come in their own container like milk, apple juice, eggs etc by scanning the barcodes on these items. Please watch the video for an example of how the application works.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Doing a round of beta testing with members of the community to gather feature requests and solve issues or problems that might exist with the product / application.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

Brainstorming sessions with users would be extremely helpful to polish the concept and further develop the product. Feedback from OpenIDEO members would be crucial in refining Fresh Lids.

Tell us about your work experience:

I am a software developer / music maker / technologist and recent graduate student currently residing in Indianapolis Indiana. Solving challenging problems in creative, simple, and innovative ways is what I'm all about. I am currently working full time as a Ruby on Rails developer and Fresh Lids is my passion project, I've been working on it relentlessly for several years now and I am planning on seeing it blossom as I believe it serves a real purpose, and helps alleviate a very serious...

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual

How far along is your idea?

  • It was in the works before this challenge – it’s existed for 2-6 months


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ri Caragol

Any more feedback for Fresh Lids?

Photo of Olivia Paquette

Hello Ri! I thought your idea was very clever and realistic! I always find myself standing in my kitchen with a bunch of miscellaneous food thinking “how can I turn this into something good?” Fresh Lids would provide ideas and recipes on the spot! The alerts to remind you when something is almost expired gives you time to use it or give it to someone else. I would have to say my favorite part of your idea is the Data Points. People will actually be able to see their progress and see how doing the little things can go a long way. When people see how much money they can save they'll be motivated to keep track of their foods expiration dates. I have an idea that could possibly add to yours. I once used an app that could scan bar codes on food labels. It would know exactly what the food was, the brand, the expiration date, calories, ect. This could replace your smart labels so people don't have to go through the hassle of pasting them on everything in their kitchen. This would also help with paper waste because all of those smart labels would eventually be thrown away and have to be reprinted every time you bought that item all over again. I hope my idea helps you in the future. Best of luck, Olivia.

Photo of Ri Caragol

Olivia, Thanks for the kind thoughts and motivation. Please press the heart on this idea if you like it. Fresh Lids does indeed support barcodes on containers and it is not necessary to paste a label on those items that already have barcodes. Please see the presentation video above so you can see how it works. Fresh Lids connects to a back end database with millions of products. You can even add items to this product DB if it does not find it , so you can find it next time you scan it, or if other people scan it.

Thanks again for the input.

Photo of preksha

Great idea...
It can save a lot of lives

Photo of Ri Caragol

Thank you preksha ! We are certainly trying to help out our environment.

Photo of Daniel Morris

This is a great idea! I really hope the best for Fresh Lids and other great ideas of this kind that actually start to resolve a major problem in the way food is mismanaged at home.

Photo of Ri Caragol

Thanks Daniel, I hope so as well and yes it indeed does solve a huge problem for mankind and our environment.

Photo of LP

Great idea. Love the project!

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Ri! I like the idea.

If I wanted to use Fresh Lids, would I receive labels via the post or just download them and print them out?

Photo of Ri Caragol

Hello Kate, great question, you could do both! Fresh Lids main goal is to lower food waste, so if you think you can print the labels at home  and use them on your containers then that's great! We'll provide you with QR code images for your labels that you can print. If you would like more permanent labels we can send those through the post as well and you can paste those on your containers of choice. Even more, Fresh Lids also has a line of containers with labels already pasted on them. In other words, the only thing that is required is the App.