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OptiMeal - Meal plans & Groceries optimized

Weekly groceries customized for households, promoting healthy eating habits, saving time, and reducing waste by buying exactly what you need

Photo of Sanja Grbic

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UPDATE (9/23/2016):

* Optimeal could start out as a campaign/initiative that engages people to change eating/grocery shopping habits for one week, promising people to save money, reduce waste and save time if they give it a try. 

* A choice of meal plans would be offered through an app and direct order of calculated amount of groceries for the household using existing supermarket home delivery services. Recipes included.

* A number of similar services exist ie. 
Optimeal focus would be on creating meal plans that are complete - all meals and snacks during the week, not based on restrictive diet or creating a culinary experience - plans would be based on customers ACTUAL eating habits with advice for improvement if they wish. 


* Redefining Optimeal as a web service only while using existing supermarket home delivery services

* Big Data and Artificial Intelligence hold great promise in this field and should be incorporated and exploited greatly - Imagine AI assistant that helps you with cooking questions or gives you advice for leftovers.

* Gamification - incentives like discounts as a reward for consumers that managed to reduce waste or start eating healthier

* Healthcare industry - opportunity for health insurance companies to promote healthy lifestyle in order to reduce costs and attribute to improving public health


Technology today can make it a lot easier for us to transform our buying and eating habits in developed countries, at the consumer and retail level. People in cities who wish to eat healthier and reduce waste often find it requires putting in a lot of time and effort to plan out meals, shop, cook and manage what groceries to buy and when.

Imagine an easier way for a grocery store customer to plan and shop:

  1. Data input  - customer provides info on household members, eating habits, restrictions etc.
  2. Meal plan selection - customer selects a weekly meal plan (a number of meal plans are offered according to season / availability and user input)
  3. Delivery of groceries - customer receives a detailed plan, recipes and groceries needed for one week.

Chef’s everywhere carefully plan out menus in order to have variety, and reduce waste, so why not have someone do this for your own home? Only one week of eating like this could help create a new mindset towards food among local community members. On the other side, it would be easier to plan food acquisition ahead for the stores and reduce waste and storage space in retail too.

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

Trying it at our own home at the moment :) A lightweight experiment that involves more people could be a one time cooperation between a local food store and a nutritionist (people already on a diet plan would make great early adopters).

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

Nutritionist: Researching healthy eating habits and creating meal plans
Supply & logistics manager: Helping to define an ideal supply chain and other processes vital for the business
Software Engineer: Providing an analysis of the resources needed to build software that could support the business

Tell us about your work experience:

We are a couple of graphic designers, business and life partners, owners of a boutique design studio called Styleguide. based in Belgrade. We have years of experience and for the past year we've been working exclusively with healthcare startups, providing them with branding, content strategy, web & product design services as well as development team management. We love to work on meaningful, human-centered projects and are passionate about smart design solutions visually- and concept-wise.

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm

How far along is your idea?

  • It’s just been created! It’s existed for 1 day - 1 month


Join the conversation:

Photo of Sanja Grbic

Kate Rushton  Michael Wells  Josephine Liang   You guys had great questions and inputs so we added you to the team. Is that ok? :) We're new on OpenIDEO still learning the works :)

Photo of Kate Rushton

I am happy to be on the team. I will be commenting on all the ideas in the challenge, but adding me to the team helps me keep track on how the idea is developing. 

Photo of Daniel Gutierrez

have you think about an App that could tell you which food recipes can be made according to the protein (beef, chicken, etc), vegetables and fruits that you have at home in order to reduce food waste?

Photo of Sanja Grbic

Daniel Gutierrez  Hi Daniel! Actually we are trying to focus on prevention of creating waste in the first place, but on a far fetch I could totally imagine having an Optimeal AI assistant that helps you figure out what to do with the food you didn't use according to menu schedule. Thank you for your input!

Photo of Josephine Liang

I think this is an idea! Please take a look at Winnow, which makes a software that calculates the amount of food waste produced in commercial kitchen in order to inform buying and wasting habits - should be a perfect partner to develop your app!

Photo of Sanja Grbic

Josephine Liang  Thanks! You are totally right about Winnow, we actually saw it in the research phase posts and it was one of the things that inspired our idea!

Photo of Michael Wells

@Sanja Grbic I really like the ideas about grocery delivery services because they offer a lot of benefits. I don't know if you've ever heard of Blue Apron or Instacart before, but they are exactly what you're trying to create. Using technology to transform the way we shop for our food can really impact the wastage and reduce storage space for stores. It takes a lot of time and effort to plan, shop, prepare and then cook meals every night for the household. It gets to the point where people don't have the time or energy to go through the process, so they end up eating out, eating unhealthy, or wasting food that they normally wouldn't throw away. Allowing the consumer to be able to choose their groceries for a week and having them be picked out by nutritionists or grocery specialists minimizes the unhealthy aspect of grocery shopping and possibly reduces the waste. Because people will buy items that are just there, especially if those items are on sale. They won't even check the expiration date or bother to read the nutrition labels on the back. This is a great way for people to watch what they eat. I'm just curious on how you're going to be able to incorporate this idea into the world. Do you have any strategies on how you'll get your service out there? I suggest looking into making an app for phones, because other services (i.e. Blue Apron or Instacart) have apps that they use so customers can just get on and do their meal plans that way. Although a website is a good idea, I believe an app would be more profitable given the amount of people these days that have smart phones. Great idea though!

Photo of Sanja Grbic

Michael Wells Thank you for great insights! We checked out Blue Apron and Instacart and along the way found a few more similar initiatives ( Your comment inspired us to think about ways to set the service apart and reach people - and we're thinking about starting as a campaign/initiative to change your eating habits for one week. For example, it could be advertised in cooperation with supermarket chains at point of sale. This could get people to save money, reduce waste, save time and become aware of the issue with minimal effort for them. A phone app is a must, of course! :)

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Sanja!

Thank you for sharing your idea. It reminds me of the one-week juice detox plans to reset your body and change your diet.

Do you think it would be possible to use the existing home delivery service offered by supermarkets to deliver the ingredients?

Have you also heard of Hellofresh and Gusto? They supply ingredients to cook meals but not from supermarkets. I am wondering if some ideas about the logistics and meal plans could come from these examples as well as the OpenIdeo Community.

Photo of Sanja Grbic

Hello Kate!

Thank you for commenting, very helpful and insightful! Hope it's not too late to answer even though the idea phase is finished.
Now - to address the points you made:

*supermarkets home delivery*
It would definitely be possible to use the existing home delivery service offered by supermarkets. Initially we were imagining OptiMeal as a grocer with special features and plans and it's own suppliers and delivery but realized that what we should focus on is the web service itself  (meals planning, providing recipes, calculating needed quantities of groceries and ordering). This decision is a result of  reviewing our own capabilities and knowledge as well as the links you provided .

*Hellofresh and Gusto*
Very helpful and similar to what we imagined, and after careful examination we figured out what our points of difference and advantages could be. We would focus on creating meal plans that are complete - all meals and snacks during the day, not based on restricting your diet or creating a culinary experience - plans based on your ACTUAL eating habits with advice for improvement if you wish. Existing supermarket delivery service also fits here (shop this recipe on is a good example of the technology already in use)

*additional thoughts*
With people increasingly using wearables for tracking their health and fitness, tracking food intake for a week could be a good start for the customer (or Optimeal collaboration with a company that already has some data of this sort - don't know if that's a possibility?)

Thanks and let us know if you have any additional questions or suggestions.