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The Food Trooper Smart Tool Kit

Food Trooper aims to raise awareness of food waste in kids and promote a long term cultural change in the future generation of consumers.

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Food Trooper aims to raise awareness of food waste in kids and promote a long term cultural change in the future generation of consumers by bringing a challenge in the form of a game and providing engaging and fun to use tools that help kids to reflect on food consumption and waste in their own homes, their community and the larger world.

The Food Trooper Smart Tool Kit will be used to drive awareness of food waste at home and also support Food Trooper Challenge where kids will reflect on their own food consumption and waste, and compare that with other kids.

The Tool Kit includes these elements:

Food & Badge MagnetsKids can categorize the food by its freshness and urgency to be consumed by placing magnets, each representing a food category, in the appropriate badge. A good activity to do with parents.

The badge and food magnets proved to be the most engaging for kids during testing phase

Eat This Food box for storing leftovers in the refrigerator.

An Eat This Food box to encourage use of food most likely to spoil the soonest. We know that hidden food is often wasted

Newsletter with educational and challenge information for kids & parents.

A two-fold brochure with more details about the challenge

Food journal mobile app, used for the Challenge, where kids will record food that has been wasted in their own home.

Mobile Food Tracker that kids can quickly click on what was not wasted that day.

Food Trooper baseball cap to encourage a sense of community.

Food Trooper branded baseball cap

The FOOD TROOPER Challenge

The ‘Challenge’ game will be implemented by an after school program involving kids to reflect on the food they consume and waste during 1 to 2 weeks and comparing their results with their peers, using the food journal in the form of a mobile application. After the game is finished, results will be discussed with reflection by each student.

The kids will be asked to come up with their own solutions on how to best avoid food waste in their home. These will be shared and provide ideas for the next Challenge.

Our solution looks forward, attempting to shape the behaviours and mindsets of our kids, so that they become educated and conscious consumers. We intend to promote a cultural shift so kids grow up with a different mind set: not wasting food for them will be a matter taken very seriously.


We are looking into multiple channels to get Food Trooper into the hands of kids: after-school programs, school science clubs, direct to parents, partnerships.

User Journey

  1. After school program will receive TOOL KITS to be distributed to kids, including a pamphlet explaining how the challenge works
  2. 4th graders will receive THE FOOD TROOPER SMART TOOL KIT from their after school program
  3. Teacher will provide background information on Food Waste and talk with kids on how to avoid it in your home
  4. The teacher walks the student through the various elements of the Tool Kit that the kids will do at home
  5. The teacher explains how the Challenge works.
  6. Kids (troopers) bring Tool Kit home. Kids will take a look in the fridge and categorize the food using the badges and the magnets; and use the box
  7. To participate in the Challenge, kids will update their waste of food daily through the mobile app, borrowing the phone from their parents (see the screenshots of the app below). Each day, the teacher will provide a Food Waste FACT.
  8. Once the Challenge is finished (after 2 weeks), results tabulated and will be discussed in the after school group. Teacher to lead discussion with reflection by each student.
  9. The kids will be asked to come up with their own solutions on how to best avoid food waste in their home. The ideas will be featured on the food troopers website.
  10. These ideas will be used in the next challenge

Next phase

When kids finish the Food Trooper Tool Kit, there is the potential for them to graduate to becoming food rescuers, partnering with an organization like ZacSnacks in their city.

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

Test out the new digital prototype with age group to get feedback. The question we need to answer: is this something that engages a kid enough that they would use it everyday? Meet with an after school program (i.e., ACT at St. John the Divine) to introduce the Food Trooper Smart Food Kit as a standalone module, or club format. Use the prototype to gauge interest in the concept.

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

> Opportunities for collaboration within the OpenIDEO community > Web development for digital app > Iterations and co creative session for platform improvement > Identify tools which could help us measure results achieved with our program > Navigating after school or other community based programs for kids > Funding/sponsor recommendations > Early childhood experts who can help develop a lesson plan for teachers > Scaling up after initial tests/refinements

Tell us about your work experience:

Sum total of team's experience: We all love food and we all have kids and we would like to do something meaningful for our community > Simone is an art director/advertising creative with lots of experience in video > Melissa is a graphic designer with production experience > Juan is a strategist at a global non-profit

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm
  • A student collaboration

How far along is your idea?

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

How would you describe this idea to your grandmother?

We created a game to be implemented through a school program where kids from 8 -10 yrs old will reflect on how much food they consume and waste, and also use some fun tools to understand how food is consumed and wasted at home

How is your idea unique to the space?

The uniqueness of this idea is that we want to focus on kids, we believe they will play a huge role in the not so distant future, and so we want to raise awareness at an early age so that they can become more conscious and responsible consumers once they become adults The second differentiating factor is that we want to do this through a game, to be engaging and fun for the kids and avoid any burden on the parents, we don’t want this to be “homework”.

Who needs to play a role in your idea in order to make it successful?

> Kids to be involved and engaged throughout the challenge > Parents to support what kids are doing, to ask the kids about food and provide their own views and ideas > Educators to help introduce the challenge and help with the lesson plan

How do you plan to measure the impact of your idea?

We plan to track success focusing on engagement and behavior change: 1. Track key stats from the application: % of kids that actually completed the 2 week challenge and % of kids that provided feedback on the impact of the challenge 2. Survey of kids after challenge to understand what they thought of the challenge, and what would they change 3. Interviews and focus groups to understand how the game has helped to change behaviours, and hence reduce food waste.

What are your immediate next steps after the challenge?

> Refine prototype of the toolkit, and prototype application and set up new testing > Develop the supporting materials (guidance for the teacher to introduce the challenge, evaluation questions) > Identify 1 or 2 schools/programs that are willing to be part of a pilot


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