Winner of the Cambridge University ‘Gamifying Decarbonisation challenge’ sponsored by the Living Lab, FoodIE is a project proposal aimed at reducing carbon emissions in Cambridge. It is a sub-section of Ripple focussed specifically on food; a small ‘trial run’ that can be expanded to all other sectors of the app. The FoodIE team did everything from designing app content to researching metrics to developing a viable business and financial model.

It all started when team members Belinda, Abi, Niki, and Mohammad were discussing ideas for the carbon challenge competition over a hearty lunch. We came down to the realisation that food, something we so often talk and think about as hungry students, is a vital contributing component to the climate crisis. From conversations about what to cook tonight, or where to eat out, how can students become more sustainable ‘foodies’? 

Foodie noun: A person who loves and is very interested in different types of food

Food is a critically important contributor to the global climate crisis, being responsible for over 26% of global greenhouse gas emissions (Ritchie, 2019). Food becomes a more significant proportion of our emissions as we switch to renewable energy. Developing sustainable food habits could be the key to tackling one of the biggest problems we face in our modern world.

We make decisions about food every day for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. There are a range of factors which impact our choices including taste, cost, convenience, and health. However, we have no reliable way of confirming the sustainability of our food, without turning completely vegan! This is why the FoodIE team devised an app which considers all these factors, so you can just choose your meals, guilt-free. 

The FoodIE app is a visually interactive method to foster low-carbon food practices for students while at university. The mobile app, available on iOS and Android platforms, utilises a range of features which promote lifestyle changes through personalised suggestions supported by scientific research. Key features include: a community board which enables collaborative knowledge-sharing; a personalised scoreboard which monitors progress and instils competition; and a 10-step challenge with daily goals to help students reduce their carbon footprint. Our long-term goal is to develop a socially relevant, tailored gaming experience that helps people transition into a more sustainable lifestyle with the focus on global food decarbonisation.

Taking inspiration from the social platforms of Instagram, the community-driven concepts of OLIO, and the holistic approach of Oroeco, the FoodIE app aims to provide the ultimate food sustainability experience. 

After working diligently through a pandemic, our team produced a comprehensive project proposal which won the Gamifying Decarbonisation challenge aimed at reducing carbon consumption in Cambridge. The winnings of this competition has kickstarted the app development phase of the FoodIE project; we are currently working with a technical team to bring our vision to life.



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