The recipe of good service design – Sainsbury’s Food Rescue

Fjord Family

I was delighted to read about the Sainsbury’s Food Rescue service last week. The tie-up between Sainsbury’s and Google to help people make the most of leftover food goes to the very heart of what service design is all about.

As designers we should always strive to make things better, a belief that we hold very dear here at Fjord. This project firmly positions design at the heart.

We live in an era of ‘use once and throw away,’ with speed being more important than sustainability. The recession is still very real for many people in the UK. And as a result we’ve become a nation far more obsessed with looking after our wallets than we were pre-2008.

Capitalism makes the world go round, however the big supermarkets are fighting for our every penny. That’s why Sainsbury’s Food Rescue caught my eye as a refreshing new initiative aiming to pull us in the opposite direction.

Aiming to combat food waste, the service also gives a little something back to the consumer. Rather than encouraging buying, Sainsbury’s Food Rescue inspires us to reduce waste and to use what we already have in our fridge or cupboards.

The outcome is a great example of service design, with some nicely crafted interactions. You simply tell the page which food you have left to use up and it will suggest recipes for you. And by tell, it really does mean tell, as you use your computer’s microphone as input, making it an easy-to-use, hands free service, allowing you to juggle a busy life while making dinner plans.

Apart from being a recipe generator, there is also a community aspect, with hints and tips available, an overview of which food has been rescued most frequently countrywide, as well as an overall chart of where in the UK people are saving the most food.

It’s a great example of a brand taking on more responsibility, and offering a ‘next level’ service to their consumers and communities.

Tesco has also collaborated with Google to give something back with its Eat Happy Project. Tesco are pledging ‘a long term commitment to help tackle children’s diet-related health problems’. Using Google’s connected Classrooms, Tesco offers Farm to Fork Online Field Trips, enabling teachers to show their primary school pupils exactly where their food comes from, and allow them to ask the farmer questions during the session. Tesco has also teamed up with Children’s Food Trust, in offering cookery classes in selected Tesco stores around the UK.

Both services are great examples of the type of work that we’re lucky enough to undertake at Fjord. As service design brings together insights to understand user needs, along with business drivers and technology advances to bring real value to people’s lives.

We’re often asked to help define or redesign services that can remove the pain out of those aspects of life that are not only unavoidable, but are gateways to unlocking transformative experiences for everyone.

From banking to heating, exercise to entertainment, complexity is king right now – and that’s where service design can cut through and create meaning and delight. This is why Sainsbury’s Food Rescue is such a great example of service design – it transforms an everyday worry into a positive experience.

Sainsbury's food rescue

Images via Sainsbury’s Food Rescue

Fjord Family

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