Description: 514 words
Have you ever walked into a grocery store and wondered how much energy it took to produce the myriad food items stocking the shelves? Are you an ecologically-conscious person? Would you like to contribute to reducing your personal and local carbon footprint but aren’t sure how to start? With our prospective phone app, GreenScan, you can do that and more!
GreenScan will be an app that anyone can download for free on their Smartphone, iPod, and any other miscellaneous devices. What the app will do is allow people to scan the barcode of any food item in any grocery store and receive information about several components of the carbon footprint of the producer of that, such as where the item came from, how much gasoline and other fossil fuels was required for it to get there, and how long it took to ship it. In addition, a customer could also learn details about the company of the item, including but not limited to the following: wages and working conditions of the company’s workers, whether or not the products are fair trade and/or organic, from where the company’s ingredients are supplied, how green their practices are, and whether or not the company is charitable. If the products are not organic, a customer would be able to learn what kind of pesticides and herbicides the company uses. In the event that an item does not include a barcode of any kind, this app will also provide the option for the customer to manually input information about the product in question, such as what it is, the name of the company it came from, and the store in which it was found.
GreenScan will probably start out as either a free app or a demo app with limited functions to test how it is received by people. With the assumption that it will be successful, GreenScan will be updated to a $0.99 application with the demo still available. This process, as well as actually creating the app, should take up to one year to complete.
For this Android and Apple iOS app, we would need around $30,000 in funding. This is broken down by the various features included in GreenScan. People will be able to login via their choice of either email or social media. With their login, they will have the option to write a review about the item they scan or the item’s company, share the company findings with their friends, and encourage smarter shopping. Also, there will be a favorites feature where customers can “bookmark” the companies they like for future reference. We would also like the app to be as accessible for people as possible with a foolproof layout and a salient icon. All of these things cost money, but they are all very important for the app to reach its full potential and help make a difference.
As young entrepreneurs and environmentalists, our team is very optimistic about GreenScan. We believe it will be a sensational, everyday app that will encourage both consumers and producers to be ecologically-conscious stewards of the environment.
Unmet need:180 words
Our product meets the increasing need for transparency with items that the average consumer purchases at the supermarket. When a mother or college student goes into a supermarket they have the ability to take out their phone and easily scan any item that has a barcode. From this scan they will be able to see on the GreenScan app all of the different components that are mentioned in the app description above. This app gives the consumer transparency for the products that they are buying. The consumer is able to see where the food they will be consuming is coming from and whether they are made in a safe and fair manner. It makes big corporations more accountable for their practices and gives the consumer more of a responsibility to make a more environmentally-conscious decision. The average consumer is able to make an environmental impact by making a more informed decision when they go grocery shopping. As shown in the potential market data, many consumers want to better understand environmental terms and their impact and this app will help lead this movement.
Potential Market: 130 words
The target customer for the GreenScan application is a health-conscious and environmentally-friendly shopper who has access to a mobile phone. According to “Environmental Leader,” 71% of Consumers think Green when purchasing items. 7% consider the environment every time they shop, while 20% consider it regularly and 44% consider it sometimes. What was most interesting about this study was that consumers are showing an inclination to learn more. 71% of consumers wish companies would do a better job helping them understand environmental terms. This shows that there is definitely a large potential market for the environmentally-conscious customer who wants to know more about what they are buying.
Innovation: 202 words
Our closest competitor is GoodGuide, an app that rates products based on their ingredients, the environment, and society. While this app is based upon the same basic ideas as GreenScan, it includes significantly less detail than our app would. GreenScan calculate a given product’s score in these three categories, but the actual factors contributing to the rating do not appear. In addition, we plan to include more detailed information about meat products than GoodGuide includes, such as the type of feed and fertilizer used and the overall energy footprint of the product. This would describe how far the product has traveled, whether and for how long it has been frozen, and the overall energy input used throughout the product’s lifetime. The energy footprint would appear as a comparison relative to other similar products, to provide customers with a clear frame of reference. In addition, we plan to add to incorporate photographs into the app, so customers can quickly see the living conditions pertaining to animal products, and the working conditions pertaining to all products. While some apps currently on the market feature a few of these ideas, none have compiled all into a streamlined, comprehensive, and easy to use application, as GreenScan would be.
Interviews: 216 words
We spoke with four individuals – two university students, Sarah and Paul, a 20-year-old engineer, Steve, and a 27-year-old artist and an environmental worker and artist, Shelby. All voiced frustration about the disconnect modern day American consumers feel at the supermarket, and all expressed a desire to know much more about the source of their food products. Interestingly, Paul and Sarah noted that they are less interested in whether products are organic, because they feel that this rating system is often not stringent or descriptive enough. Rather, they wished to know about the overall energy footprint of a product, including how far it traveled and via what mode of transportation. Shelby desired knowledge about the working conditions where products are made, while Steve placed more of an emphasis on knowing what went into his meat products. He noted that while he would like to see companies use natural fertilizer, this issue matters less to him than whether companies use growth hormones in their meat. He would also like to know what type of diets animals have, such as whether they are grass-fed or eat other animal products. While the ecological footprint of animal feed matters to Steve, he said that the taste of the meat varies greatly depending on their feed, and this matters just as much.
How will it be financially sustainable: 143 words
There is a need for this app. People will be willing to buy and invest money in a product that allows them to choose the best quality product when shopping especially in a day an age where products that are low-quality can sometimes present either immediate health risk or long term health risks. This product will also be sustained by people concerned about their carbon footprint and its impact on the world. In addition it is possible that the government could fund this project to help lower overall emissions and to help communities eat healthier to help prevent incidence of things such as diabetes and obesity. Moreover, there is no doubt that this product will be financially sustainable.
Why is our team right for the project: 106 words
Not only have a strong passion for informing people about how their everyday choices can impact the environment, but we also want to give them the tools to make more informed choices. In addition we make it a point to not stop at the level of the consumer or store, but also the farms and suppliers that distribute this food, by doing adequate research on consumer behavior as well as the ecological footprint of the forces that supply food products we can bridge the gap between consumer and producer as well as inform consumers about the quality of the product they are actually receiving when they shop.