BACKGROUND & RESEARCH
We all have cravings, don't we? and often on, we choose junk food to satisfy those bad cravings. In no time this behavior becomes habitual and we binge eat for instant gratification.
a. According to the medical research, unhealthy food cravings are caused due to slight deficiency in vital nutrients. For example, someone craving for a sweet candy is actually lacking chromium levels in their body; thus foods high in chromium such as broccoli, grapes, and cheese, can satiate the craving for candy (source).
b. Food cravings are psychologically determined as well; and seen as a response to emotional stress or triggered by one (source).
Thus, by informing people about healthy and delicious foods to satisfy their cravings, will encourage them to eat better and manage their cravings, smartly.
SOLUTION: MOBILE APP "EAT SMART"
USP for Marketing purposes: "Outsmart your cravings with no compromise on taste or health!"
MVP: "Eat Smart" assists users to overcome their food cravings by suggesting customized-personalized recommendations on healthy-delish snacks sourced from different databases.
- Recipe videos from Celebrity videos on Telemundo's You Tube channel.
- Suggestions from user’s Social Media friends.
- Recommendations from Health Sponsors.
- Old fashion recipe videos from Latino Grannies (Telemundo YouTube).
- Recipe videos from Hispanic Chefs. (Chef's personal blogs & websites)
- Suggestions from Local users.
- Tried and tested foods that satisfy cravings from Health Blogs/Experts.
I want users to maintain healthy lifestyles long term, and not give-up easily, hence, the app provides reinforcement through information, convenience, engagement and motivation such as:
a) Provide instant call to actions during time of need, when users are craving and need suggestions quickly. It eliminates user's boredom of going through loads of information online.
b) Provide convenient shopping options by recommending hyper- local health stores to buy health food.
c) Instill community feeling, by allowing users to engage on online groups/social media and share food ideas, diets.
d) Engage and motivate users, by allowing them to interact and seek guidance from like-others, receive badges, compete, receive coupons for health stores and a chance to be featured on YouTube for their effort of eating healthy.
e) Trends, quantifies user data by trending and syncing their eating habits and activities.
Below is a full suite of app features, actions & supported technologies:
1) Type & Talk feature: besides the default typing feature, users can use voice commands to input their craving.
Action: users can click on app icons to either type or speak the food they are craving for. Bob clicks on the microphone button and says that he is craving for chocolate doughnut today.
2) Personalization feature: users can sign-in using Facebook, Google+ or email; and are given an option to provide their health history. This helps to provide recommendations based on user's lifestyle, health issues and special conditions.
In addition, based on user's activity on the app (i.e time when the app was accessed), the user receives real time alerts on when he/she is are more likely to have food craving and receives recommendations in advance. With frequent use, the app shows a log/trend chart of user's attempts to satisfy his/her cravings.
Action: User creates a health profile by signing in through Facebook. He is prompted to share his health history, so the app can send personalized food items and JIT reminders based on his online activity. He is allergic to sesame, hence, never gets recommendations for items made with sesame or sesame oil. The app alerts at 3:00 pm (when he craves the most) and tracks his attempts and shows a log of his craving and rewards accordingly.
3) Customization feature: There is an option to customize the app to provide recommendations on:
a. Diet: Paleo, Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers.
b. Food Options: Vegan, Veg, Organic, Locally Grown, Gluten Free, Ethically & Responsibly Managed: Grass fed, Open range, Air chilled, Hormone free, Non GMO, Savory, Sweet.
b. Nutrition: Carbohydrate, Protein; Fat and Fiber with high, moderate and no options under each category.
c. Mood/states: foods that boast energy, relieve stress; aids digestion; induces sleep etc.
Action: user selects options under each category. Bob wants the app to recommend a vegetarian, savory snack that aids in digestion and selects the options accordingly.
4) Crowd-Sharing and Collaborative Database feature: the app's recommends food options from different databases:
- Celebrity Database: Telemuendo's YouTube channel showing celebrities creating healthy snacks under 5 minutes in a quick 2 minutes video.
- Social Media Database: recommendations from friends from FB & G+.
- Health Food Sponsor Database: currently in partnership with Nutiva & Fage.
- Ethnic Database: Collaboration with top Hispanic Chefs and grandmas in USA & South America(www.quericavida.com); (latinkitchen.com); and YouTube videos of Latina grannies cooking traditional recipes (Example).
- Local User Database: shared data from local users.
- Health Blogs: food recommendations from health research articles/blogs.
Action: based on personal settings, the App recommends, Bob can try these healthy-delish options:
- Root veggies (Beyonce Knowles).
- Protein bar (Bob's friend Sam on Facebook)
- Mediterranean yogurt & Buttery Spread w/ Crackers (Fage & Nutiva)
- Avocado mole fritters (Texas Chef Rick Lopez)
- Pesto nuts (Local users)
- Hummus with baked Pita & Broccoli w/Cheese (Nutritionist Blogger)
Action: Bob likes the hummus & pita recommendation.
5) Supporting Research; User Sharing with Geo-Tagging feature: the benefits of recommended food options is backed with data on nutritional value; nutritional deficiency that cause those cravings.
Action: Bob sees a nutritional level of each food item, and understands the science behind the craving. He reads a testimonial from his office colleague (also an active user of the app), about eating red-pepper hummus from local health store that has helped him to control his binge eating.
6) Local partnership feature: The app partners with a local health/ grocery stores that prompts users to shop online or offline from a closest store location.
Action: Bob is asked if he is interested to buy Mediterranean hummus from local Trader Joe’s. He can either choose to buy online and have it picked-up or delivered with extra charge.
7) Social Media connectivity feature: the app has micro-interactions that allow him to like the recommendation and share his scenario via Facebook/G+/Twitter/Blogger. Thus, this app, not only inculcates healthy habits in users; but also influences others to follow, when shared via social network or online communities.
8) Awards and Recognition feature: the app provides virtual badges to users based on their activity (Inspiration Source). Since, Bob has used the app for first time, he receives a “Rookie” badge. Having his badge displayed on his profile helps in interacting with others and asking right questions to the community. In addition, after 7 badges, user receives store coupons and can indulge into something they like.
9) Digital media partnership/Competition feature: With partnership with NBCUniversal- Telemuendo and health organizations on curb obesity campaigns in Hispanic community, users have an opportunity to be featured on Telemuendo's Youtube channel to share their struggles on binge eating/cravings; promote their favorite fit foods and their favorite recommendations. Similar to Subway's Jared campaign (source).
10) Partnering with Web Md and LIVESTRONG to promote app on their website. especially, when users are looking for healthy options to eat or researching about weight loss.
The app will be launched in 2 phases:
Phase 1 (Current, 2015): Focus on physiological aspect of the craving by recommending healthy and delicious food options to satisfy the cravings.
Phase 2 (Future, 2016): Focus on psychological aspect of craving by recommending work-outs and mind engaging activities to curb cravings or delay gratification.. Potential features in phase 2 will be:
1. Integrate Smart Activities with Health Technology: adding engaging activities to curb cravings, for those who want instant gratification or prefer to sweat it out instead of eating smart. User's workout history will be synced with Fitbit.
2. Richer Database: includes different sources such as:
- Youtube Workouts from Vloggers showing 4 to 5 mins workouts to minimize cravings. i.e fitness blender, Tabata interval training.
- Cognitive/mental activities prompting users to use Lumosity app.
- Connecting with a support group, users will receive guidance and motivation by sharing healthy issues and cravings.
On a regular work day, at 3:00 pm, Bob craves for a densely rich chocolate filled doughnut; and grabs one from the free dessert bar at his office. He wants to overcome his bad habit; but does not know how to. After discussing his problem with the office wellness team, he is recommended to use the app that gives him options on healthy snacks to satisfy cravings. He enters chocolate filled doughnut as his craving in the app. Bob is prompted to personalize the recommendation and is suggested to to eat dark chocolate-almond bread, instead.
In addition, he is recommended to buy the snack from a local organic grocery store located within 0.1 miles away from the office. The app also gives him an option to buy online for pick-up or delivery for an extra charge.
By having this information, he decides to take a walk down to the store and buy the item. He makes sure, he buys extra to stash his desk drawer, so next time when he has a craving, he simply reaches out to his drawer and not to the cafeteria where doughnuts are stacked!
He is so stoked about this experience and information that he shares it online with his friends who are struggling with the same issue, and influences them to try it out as well!
Thank you Ideators for suggesting great ideas.
App features enhanced and/or modified based on feedback from:
- Yehuda T
- Annie Zhu
- Taeyoung Kim
- Allen A
- Chris Lee
- Bettina Fligel
- James Mayr
- Nuno Franca
- Shane Zhao
- Hannah Mackaness
- Justin Bean
- Ahmed Rub
- Nathan Entrekin
- Anisah Parks
Animated User Flow (see attached) by:
- Samrat Sankhya