I completely agree that kids should be our main target. However, I noticed there are no ideas for your Smart Tool Kit. Below are three valuable items I’ve thought of.
The first pamphlet is on how to prevent foods from going bad too quickly. Kids need to be educated on the proper ways to store food. To often food is wasted because it wasn’t stored in the proper conditions. This will also include information on how long the food should last if stored correctly. This will help people plan better before food expires.
Next I thought I recipe book would be helpful. Sometimes the most difficult part is coming up with recipes, especially when you don’t have many ingredients to pick from. Recipe books are often not used because of access to the internet. I think if everyone has access to one in their kitchen this will prompt them to use it more. Hopefully a recipe book will reduce the amount of wasted food due to lack of knowledge.
Lastly a pamphlet on where to send donations or expired food. Often food is thrown away because it’s a few days passed its expiration date. However, most of this food can still be used. Food is also wasted when people know they won’t use it, but let it sit in their kitchen anyways. People should be more encouraged to donate this food to local food banks. The problem is people aren't educated on where to bring this food. This pamphlet will include listings of local areas that accept donations or expired food.
I enjoyed your comparison between available information and convenient information. Our generation doesn’t take advantage of all the information on the internet. People don't educate themselves on food waste the way they should. The only problem with making “How to Keep Fresh” signs on the shelves is people will often forget by the time they get home. People buy so many items they wouldn't be able to remember more than a few of them. Plus, people get in the habit of just grabbing stuff off the shelves after they've bought it multiple times. A way to fix this would be putting the signs directly on the packages. Now there's no excuse not to take full advantage of the labels. The labels can consists of information about where the food will stay fresh the longest. Example: “To keep a bunch of bananas fresh for longer, wrap the stems in some plastic wrap. Re-cover the bananas with the wrap after removing one. This method prevents ethylene gas, produced naturally in the ripening process, from reaching other parts of the fruit and prematurely ripening it.” Wilgubeast. "Keep Bananas Fresh Longer (slices, Too!)." http://Instructables.com. N.p., 07 Dec. 2012. Web. 26 Sept. 2016. These labels can also include a use by date, and a donate by date. People often realize when they won't be able to use food before it expires but hold on to it anyways. Now they will know when they have to donate it in time for someone else to use it. I hope my observations are helpful, Olivia.
I really enjoyed how your idea is a solution for not only your everyday consumer, but also grocery stores themselves. I also like how this brings communities together to work on a common goal. While reading through your idea, I noticed a few things I thought could be changed. Due to food liabilities, grocery stores can’t open packaged foods and divide them into smaller portions. If food gets contaminated while being separated the grocery store would be at fault. This is a good idea to reduce waste in over sized portions, but impractical. Secondly, people are always going to buy extra. When planning for a dinner, you always want to be sure to have enough for everyone. If you're not sure you're going to have enough, a common rule of thumb is to buy extra. Also most of the ingredients you mentioned being separated, are reusable. Most people don’t mind buying extra because they know they can easily use it. No one wants to re buy sugar every time they use it in a recipe. Buying in bulk is convenient. Lastly, I thought you could make the app connect with the grocery store. Knowing the app can calculate waste, you could use this information to motivate people. Customers can receive coupons if they don’t waste.