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Recipes suggestions based on mood, behaviour, and context

Food and recipe suggestions to match the music you've been listening to, your mood, place, the time of the day, and your schedule. (Updated)

Photo of Matt Sandrini
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Who is the target audience for your idea and how does it inspire the end user to lead a healthier life?

Mainly teenage kids but also adults. This would make the experience very personal, making eating healthy more interesting.

This could be an app, a website, or a text service that sends recipes based on how you feel.

By sharing your mood, or selecting a song, you would get a healthy recipe suggestion to match the way you feel.

Additionally it could integrate with your calendar and location, to suggest healthy recipes that are based on context and follow your mood, complement your music, but also support you in your daily commitments (and relaxing time).

By making eating healthy a more personal and fun experience, it would make eating and cooking healthy food a more positive activity.

Refinement stage update 8th August

We re-grouped to start building up our idea before we prototype it next week. We talked through the idea and some of the feedback from the community to build upon the basic idea, adding context and thinking about the stakeholders.

We created 4 personas to consider different users from different generations and from different circumstances. To save time we decided to select 1 persona and went through a day-in-the-life to understand the personas routine and needs, and where and when the user might want to interact with the service and which inputs could be useful. Here’s our persona and day-in-the-life:

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This helped us think about a human end user with a daily routine and needs. Finally we created a user journey keeping to just the 6 most important experiences.

1. Discovery: How will the  parent discover the service in the first place?

  • Word of mouth
  • Browsing the app store
  • Ads

2. Downloading and setting up the app: How difficult is it to set up the app?

The app is downloaded from the app store like any other app. The parent creates a profile for the person they are caring for (whether a child or elderly relative). Everything is in drop down categories for ease of set up e.g. Sport; Music; Activity etc. The other user’s phone number is added to connect the app to the other phone

3. First Use (parent/carer): Parent received message “Juan is playing football tonight, why not make this healthy and tasty meal to help him recover”

4. First Use (child/elderly relative): Juan receives a text message after football suggesting he and his friends listen to his favourite song, and asks ‘Did you eat your apple?’

5. Feedback (parent): Juan’s Mom receives a message asking if he ate his apple. If not a different snack is suggested for after the next football session.

6. Exit: This is less important to prototype so we won’t consider for now.

We ranked the experiences by importance to decide what to prototype. We will prototype in this order, time permitting:

  1. Purchase and set up app (we want this to be seamless and frictionless so that we don’t lose any users at the first hurdle)
  2. Message the child receives suggesting a music track and reminder to eat a healthy snack
  3. Parent receiving a message reminding them of their childs activity with a meal suggestion.

Here’s a summary of how the service works. There are 2 main ways to use the service:

  1. 1 User - An adult can use our app to get food and recipe suggestions based on activity, mood, time and place. So after resistance training at the gym, a high protein and nutrition dense meal would be recommended, if the user requests suggestions based on activity.
  2. 2+ Users - A parent (and/or other carer) sets up and controls the main app on their smart phone. Enters his/her child’s routine e.g Monday is study night (light, brain food meal suggestion and maybe some easy listening music too) and Wednesday is football practice (healthy meal high in protein and veg).

The child receives text messages on their non-smart phone (or smartphone if they have one). For example, why don’t you listen to this song with your friends whilst changing after football. Did you eat your apple?

Parent receives reminder to ask if child ate their apple after football. If Juan didn’t eat the apple, a different snack will be recommended next time.

This feedback informs the next loop and the app learns about music and food suggestions.

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

Possibly have a selection of recipes to match a certain mood, and use those recipes for a week.

What skills, input or guidance are you keen to connect with from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea?

It would be great to know if anyone has used any mood/music matching apps and what was their reaction. Maybe even more importantly, it would be great to know how we all select out daily food

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm

Does your idea currently have an Indiegogo campaign drafted?

  • No

Evaluation results

11 evaluations so far

1. Can you see this idea fitting into your daily life?

Yes, I think so - 9.1%

I'm not sure - 36.4%

No, I don't think so - 54.5%

2. Do you think this idea will help people lead healthier lives?

Yes, I think so - 9.1%

I'm not sure - 72.7%

No, I don't think so - 18.2%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Philip Matthews

Update 17/08/15

We met up again last week to further refine our idea.

We went back to our original question 'How might we encourage kids to eat healthy food when their parents are at work' to check that our idea was answering the question - and it wasn't!

So we created a second user journey based on the child getting recipe and music suggestions whilst at home, doing homework. We then highlighted 2 areas to prototype with post-it notes - Juan and his Dad setting up the app (we felt Juan should be included in the set up so that he can select his favourite activities and music) and a text message work flow for when Juan receives text messages with suggestions.

We also very quickly prototyped the app using POP app.

The next stage would be to put the app and text message prototype into the end-users hands. For this we need help from the OI community. Maybe there some members in the US in the user group or have friends and family in the user group? We could send the POP app over to get some feedback on the app. But maybe even more importantly we could make some marketing materials or flyers to clearly communicate the service to the end user for feedback. I think a few iterations of user testing/feedback would really help us to refine the idea by ironing out the problems and filling in the blanks.

Photo of Karen Sorensen

Hi Matt--
There is a music app called Songza that does some of the functions that you have mentioned. Here is the link Parts of this idea reminds me of when Knewton first started out. It was set up to take "soft factors" (are you a morning person, evening person, work hours, likes and dislikes) and match them with "hard factors" (performance in your classes, test, etc...) these factors combined produced a recommendation engine that match study partners to create collaborative learning environments. They have since pivoted away from this, but I love this type of concept, for creating learning environments. One question I have is who is going to match food, music and mood? I assume it would be the user, but I was walking through the steps, I have problems is how would I know that listening to Green Day would make me want to eat a salad or a burger? Let alone a recipe. The only way a machine could figure this out would be to use historical data that linked to what I was listening to and what I was eating, and then make suggests based on that information.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

I like the intimacy of this idea Matt. The idea is fun and fresh.
One question I have is if you are designing for teens how many of them are actually using recipes and cooking? I may be wrong, and this is where research is very handy, but I think teens grab what is either available in the fridge, or something on the street. I do not think most are routinely shopping for ingredients and preparing meals from recipes. So how does this work with the idea? Is the App about awareness and making choices, giving choices? Is it about teens and parents communicating? Is it geared for those first years living outside of the parent''s home? Will the App be geared for university aged teens that are possibly cooking for themselves and friends, depending on where they attend university and what housing situation they are in? (In the US now many millenials live in their parents homes for college and/or return after college due to economic constraints. Maybe this is a time period when they will start to cook from recipes?)

It will be fun and interesting to note if cross cultural pollination of mood + food choice happens for people who use the App!

Best of luck developing the idea!

Photo of Jacob Shepard

Hi Matt and team,
Congratulations on the advancement. I like the concept and the idea. I think it would be interesting if you broadened the scope slightly and added a couple of geo targeted features. Let me explain:

Let the user describe their mood by describing what they want to eat and then offer 1) healthier options 2) using geo targeting places that offer healthier options.

For Example: If a user wants ice-cream... show them 1) the option of how to blend bananas with peanut butter, yogurt and honey and put in the freezer to make a healthy version or make/buy and acai bowl 2) using geo-locations and other integrated apps (yelp, menupages) show them local stores that offer products like these.

This could be scaled for use with mood, time of day etc.

In addition suggestions and motivation based on mood and time of day could be made too. Around lunch time show the difference in health of a hamburger vs a turkey sandwich, a pizza vs a salad, or a frappuccino vs a coffee to motivate healthy decisions and keep it top of mind. Having the facts right in front of your can be a powerful persuader.

In addition, to foster a community I think it would be beneficial to have user submitted content/recipes. Let people share things that worked and helped them.

Hope these ideas helped and best of luck.

Jacob Shepard

Photo of Calvin Tan

Hi, Matt.
I think you and ur team r trying to make a app that, could suggest recipes to ppl, and advice them to have different meals in different moods so that them could eat enjoyably? This is a very good idea and I want to use this app too. It would be better if you guys could provide some knowledge about mood changing in the app as well.

Photo of Evangeline Zhang

From a psychological perspective, eating different tastes of food could arouse various emotions for eaters. A common daily example is that people craving for "comfort food" when they are in depressing mental state.

Photo of Robert Smith

Good stuff Matt & all! I believe my idea (true comfort food) explores one corner of yours.

A number of food choices seem closely linked to mood/situation, aligning with historical theories around 'the four humors' (choleric-hot, melancholic-dry, sanguine-cold, and phlegmatic-wet temperaments). The idea being that, for example, when the body feels 'hot and dry' it craves 'cold and wet', etc. (An obvious real-world example would be hiking in the desert and desiring ice-water).

I'm suggesting a possibly analogous link between mood and music (examples: excited individual yearns for pulse-pounding or up-beat tunes, depressed individual desires soulful jazz, focused individual works to sounds-of-nature, etc).

So, if mood drives certain affinities for both music and food, can the reverse apply? Can music drive mood/situation which, in turn, drives food choice? Fun to ponder...

Photo of Matt Sandrini

Hi Robert, good point! I personally think it can, and it's an interesting idea to explore - do you have a way in mind on how to integrate this in people's lives to encourage healthy eating?

Photo of Robert Smith

Therein lies the heart of the challenge, I suppose... If the suggestion about mood driving music and food choices is valid, perhaps the individual's selection of a type of music is an indicator for their mood which can then be mapped to a type of food dish. Mood>Music>Food recommendation. Now we just (initially) need a table of foods to go with songs (or at least musical genres) which we can push to the user as they're listening.

As for developing the table mapping music to food recommendations, perhaps that's where the '4 humors' theory can help...

If our user is listening to jazz because they're melancholic (dry), perhaps they need a 'wet' food like fruit (I'm picturing melons with lettuce).

If they're listening to upbeat music because they're sanguine (cold-positive or optimistic), the App could suggest a hot or spicy dish. Etc...

Photo of Siyun

It's a very interesting ideas you introducing here. I can match music with mood, but I've never match food with mood. When i cook, i usually make whatever i find from my fridge. This is an new idea that can change people's behavior. Maybe instead of matching, you want to eat something to lighten your mood, for example, if you feeling anxious, eat a banana or some brown rice to alleviate their anxiety. You will have to research the different property of food though.

Photo of Joanna Spoth

I love that this idea appeals to a younger generation and the way they're already using technology. If we're asking for something a pretty big lifestyle change, we have to meet people where they are and make that change integrated into their day to day. I think partnering with an existing music provider, life spotify, to integrate healthy recipes into listening habits is super cool! At the beginning of some Spotify playlists an artist thanks you for listening and gives a little plug for their latest album. Perhaps we could do the same thing for recipes. Are there other media channels in which you could see this being effective? How else might we blend people's heavy usage of media and technology with healthy suggestions?