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UX Research

The primary aim of this study was to present Matsentralen with a solution that mitigates the discomfort and stigma associated with standing in line to ask for food. The objective was to gain insights into the current pain points and to explore possible solutions that can address both food waste and poverty simultaneously.

“...People also often face the stigma surrounding the utilisation of food assistance programs. They report negative emotions, like shame, anger, and isolation when considering waiting in line at food pantries or while being bounced around to various social service”



Almost 100,000 people are standing in long food lines to receive free food from charities. Context:

a) People experience difficulties in reaching end of month, paying bills and buying food for themselves or their families, due to the inflation.

b) In Norway, more than 450,000 tonnes of edible food is thrown away every year. This corresponds to approx. 84.7 kg per inhabitant.

c) Households food waste (48%). Food industry food waste (19%). Groceries (15%). Agriculture (9%). Catering industries (3%). The wholesale sector (1%). Kiosk, petrol and service trade (1%). Public sector (1%).

Key Objective

The goal is to start a design approach that brings a good experience when the food is delivered to the people who ask for help. Improving the uncomfortable feeling that users experience when they are lining at charities and food banks.



There are both digital and analog solutions, that with further research, a variety of insights and pain points can be identified. This study presents a good opportunity to simultaneously solve two issues: the stigmatisation people suffer when seeking food assistance, and reducing food waste by increasing more awareness.


Role: UX researcher

Tools: Adobe photoshop, Miro

Timeline: 2 months (August 2023 - September 2023) ‍ ‍


Design Process

🔬 Research & Mapping

💡 Definition & Ideation

🚨 Problem Statement

Research & Mapping 🔬


Study focus

Start a design approach that brings a good experience when the food is delivered to the people who ask for help. Improving the uncomfortable feeling that users experience when they are lining at charities and food banks.


❌ Identify the current issues, including food waste and the stigma faced by individuals waiting in line for free food.

🔍 Observe first hand that this is not an hypothesis but an actual problem.

📌 Target the user group.

📈 Come up with different current solutions via benchmarking.

✅ Decrease the stigma for people by helping them fight food waste. 

Insights from Desk research & benchmarking

Many companies are fighting food waste in their own way, some are more anonimous than others. There are both digital and analog solutions, that with further research, a variety of insights and pain points can be identified. 

Desk research

I analysed the successes, failures, wins and opportunities of the current market.

Overall, there is some market within the sphere of food waste and to deliver food to those in need. Although, many a lack in some features where we can benefit from. This methodology gives us the opportunity to find insights from competitors and how is the world facing this current problem.


Families: Refugees, non-western immigrants, families with 3 children or more.

Children: Children suffer as much, also from social pressure and lack on activities.

Homeless and drug addicts: Those who suffer from mental health problems, have been in prison, or suffer drug addiction are in risk of being excluded both economically and socially.

People who live alone: Old-age pensioners, young singles, single parents are a vulnerable group that can be difficult to detect.

Immersive research

A methodology where I placed myself in the social setting (in this case the line for food) and in doing so; live the research.  This allowed me to find insights that can support evidence in the hypothesis and finding new ideas through living in the social context.


Interview Findings

I conducted 10 interviews selected based on a small screening process to choose the profiles that best fit. It was important to note that we were in a context that I dealt with people who feel degraded and in a very low self-esteem. Therefore, it was important that the interviews were empathetic, non-intrusive, inclusive and open-ended. All participants were between the ages of 35 and 60 who had been in line to ask for free food.



  • Dignity and respect: They wish to obtain food without feeling degraded. 

  • Convenience: Users prefer not to wait in long lines, or to have easy pick-up or delivery methods.

  • Personalisation: Disposability to choose individual needs like, allergies, religious reasons, or dietary preferences.

  • Community connection: How can users find opportunities to collaborate, contribute back, or even find job opportunities.

  • Recognition: Appreciating gestures that show gratitude or acknowledgment for their role in reducing food waste.

Pain points

  • Stigma: Feeling shame or embarrassment for seeking assistance.

  • Long waiting lines: Long waiting times, that for example during the winter can be tough or impossible to assist for many.

  • Lack of digital: Some people who experience poverty may not have easy access to a Pc/Phone.

  • Inaccessibility for some: There will be a group of users who can't leave their homes due to physical or mental problems.

  • Waste food concern: There is over a billion tons (1/3 of produced food) that is thrown away per year.


  • Inclusive communication: Solutions like a SMS code that informs when food is ready, a SMS solution can help to those who do not posses a smartphone.

  • Secure and private collection points: Food lockers that open with the SMS pin for the next 4 h. That can assist 5-10 people at the time.

  • Diverse access points: Portable fridges around the city or delivery services where people can storage food such as charities.

  • Pickup and delivery: Volunteers delivering food to those who can't leave home.  

  • Non-digital solutions: Addressing the needs of those without access to smartphones or the internet.

  • Engagement opportunities: An app or platform where users can order food from and also offers job openings at charities or encourages volunteer work.

  • Positive reinforcement & Marketing: Food labels with thank you notes, posters or gestures that make them feel valued and appreciated (for ex. You are helping the environment with this meal).

Definition & ideation 💡

Empathy map


  • Asking for free food.

  • Avoid eye contact.

  • Visit the charities during odd hours.

  • Quick movements.

  • Minimise all sorts of interactions.

  • Dress down.

Thinking & Feeling

  • Do people think less of me because I'm here?

  • I hope this is just a temporary phase.

  • I'm grateful for the help but wish I didn't need it.

  • What are others thinking about me?

  • I need to take care of my family


  • Other people with the same issue.

  • People who work in charities.

  • People avoiding eye contact

  • Sad looks.


  • People whispering.

  • Overhead comments.

  • People encouraging food waste.


  • Feeling less than others because of they ask for help.

  • Mental Stress.

  • Isolation.

  • Fear of Recognition.


  • Nourishment: They are receiving the food they need.

  • Empathy.

  • Resilience.

  • Community.

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