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Facilitate Food Sustainability
Through Social Change


12 weeks


Design Lead, Visual and Interface Designer, Interaction Designer, Marketing Content & Business Strategist, UX Researcher

Team Member

Lim Ing, Jungmin Ahn


Figma, Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, Rhino, Keyshot

The current restaurant food supply chain has many sustainability issues rooted in outdated habits. Despite the alarming consequences, restaurateurs are still hesitant towards transitioning their establishments into sustainable businesses.

etico aims to rewrite the restaurant supply chain system through social change. It supports accountability through facilitating transparency between restaurants and diners, via the etico menu and restaurant-diner communications on the etico app. This upheld transparency provides consumers with the credibility and trust to potentially support transitioning restaurants. When this consumer-restaurant partnership becomes a norm, consumer demands for sustainability can substantially impact the industry, creating major changes.

7 Gold, 9 Silver, 4 Bronze

Indigo Design Award, 2023

Honorable Mention

European Product Design Award™, 2023

Honorable Mention

International Design Awards™, 2022

Make the right choices, to save the future of food


The Problem Space

The current restaurant food supply chain has many sustainability issues rooted in outdated habits. Commonplace industry practices like the shipping of ingredients from faraway countries, and the lack of restaurant-consumer food transparency, contribute both directly and indirectly to climate change. Despite the alarming consequences, restaurateurs are still hesitant towards transitioning their establishments into sustainable businesses.

There are two key deterring factors against adopting sustainable practices: firstly, sustainability is not a necessity to run a successful restaurant; and secondly much financial and human resources need to be invested into restructuring and implementing workplace changes. These two factors can be boiled down to a lack of a motivating force towards turning sustainable, and a lack of resources.


Research Goals & Methods

a. Supply & Source

To explore current agriculture and logistics technology. To understand the workings of, and common issues with restaurant food supply chains.

Secondary Research

We reviewed scholarly articles and existing case studies to uncover the current issues in the food industry.

b. Restaurant Management

To understand key decisions and processes made by restaurants in their food supply chain. To unpack current technology used for supply chain and inventory management in restaurants.

Paid Survey  (n=53)

A paid survey was sent out to collect pain points and insights from only the restaurant owners and employees.

c. Restaurants & Sustainability

To gauge the awareness, thoughts, and feelings of restaurant managers and employees toward sustainability.

Contextual Inquiries  (n=8)

We conducted contextual inquiries with restaurant owners and managers to understand how they operate a restaurant.

d. Consumers

To understand how sustainability affects consumer perceptions and preferences of restaurants and their dining journey.

Interview & Culture Probes  (n=15)

We set up interviews and culture probes to observe how people choose a restaurant and their dining behavior.


Restaurant Insights

1. Misunderstanding Leftovers

It is a common misconception that plate waste stems from poor food quality, preventing restaurants from tackling the real root cause: portioning. In a US-based study, 41% of consumers blame unfinished food on oversized portions. In our research, consumers said: “I only have food-to-go when there is a lot of it left.”

2. No Motivation

There is a lack of knowledge around sustainable restaurant practices, and coupled with the misconception of high investments, sustainability is simply not crucial to a restaurant with more pressing issues. Consumers do not demand for sustainable practices. There is empathy towards restaurant owners who are unable to afford. With both parties not pushing for sustainable transitions, a lack of demand and motivation occurs.

3. Collective Ownership & Pride

From our interviews, we found that pride and ownership are something prevalent among the restaurant staff. Staff also want to be a part of a working environment that they can be proud of. They feel that they have a part to play in their restaurant’s success, and despite restaurants being high-pressure environments, they enjoy their work. Pride can be a key driving factor for a restaurant to adopt sustainable practices.


Consumer Insights

1. The Missing Link

Policies have been put in place to ensure that there is food safety and transparency between food sources and restaurants, but this is not present between consumers and the rest of the chain. There is already skepticism towards sustainable establishments due to greenwashing from big brands, and consumers feel that wholesome, transparent menus can change this.

2. The Waiting Opportunity

Ensuring that customers’ moods are lifted during a restaurant experience is commonplace, yet during the waiting phase for an order to come, diners are usually impatient from anticipation while waiting for their meal to be served. There is an opportunity during the waiting phase to keep customers occupied while having a chance to expose them to food transparency.

3. Communities Are Key

Dining experience is highly social, and this could be something we leverage to create a community around sustainable dining. All our participants knew their restaurants from either a friend’s recommendation or from visiting the restaurant previously with friends. There is an opportunity to create a strong community around sustainable dining.

To aid independent restaurants on their transitions towards becoming a sustainable corporation through social change.

Design Opportunity ::

Facilitate food transparency between consumers and restaurant to build trust and brand credibility.

Build a community of sustainable diners to create social change.

Create an alternative menu folding screen product, and a community platform.


Concept Development

With our mass of insights, we decided that we needed to select the ones that interested us the most. We prioritized our insights based on interest, novelty, and feasibility of solving the issue. We moved to converge and return back to our users’ journeys. Plotting a detailed User Journey Map (figure 1) made us better define our areas of opportunity, and their specific needs and circumstances. This allowed us to constantly keep sight of our audience, as we moved to create concepts from ideas.

Service Map (figure 2 & 3) defines stakeholders and key resource flows to show product and stakeholder interactions. The diagrams show where data is being collected and shared in the etico ecosystem, and how we invest and gain in.

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 3

Based on each chosen insight, we did 4 rounds of provocation and crazy 8’s exercises, to come up with outlandish ideas to tackle our defined problem areas. From these 4 rounds, we filtered out the most intriguing ideas, and made them into prompts for a final iteration (figure 4). Our deep research on how to standardize sustainable practices, their meaning, and matrics for verification (figure 5).

Figure 4

Figure 5


Prototyping & Iteration

The purpose of etico is to provide diners with credible ingredient sourcing information, empowering them to make decisions on their meals’ sustainability. And to build trust between consumers and restaurants, creating a supportive and transparent community-business relationship.

Paper prototypes and 3D printing models were created to visualize the concept of folding screens capability.


User Testing Methods

a. Card Sorting

To uncover user’s mental model and how their domain knowledge is structured, and it serves to create an information architecture and labeling system that matches users’ expectations.

b. A/B Testing

To identify which version a design approach is better when multiple versions are created at the same time. The test measures which one performed better with our users.

c. Moderated Usability Testing

To validate the overall interactions, visual identity, and experience of the digital and physical prototypes through mission-oriented usability testings.

App Onboarding Flow & Menu Dish Categorization tested with card sorting

Transition from low-fidelity to high-fidelity after user testings and evaluation

etico Sustainability Verification System has been created to aid diners to identify restaurants with sustainable practices.

Targeted Painpoint:

Diners do not know how a restaurant /supplier supports sustainability due to the lack of transparency and credibility.

etico System ::

etico verified labels to serve as a proof on the restaurant/supplier’s claim sustainable practices.

etico explains each practices in detail, and the metrics of how etico verified them to provide transparency.

A medium to educate the public around sustainability and the stories behind their dish.


Labour rights are upheld.


No pesticides or fertilizers, no production emissions.


Holistic land-management for low biodiversity impact.


Utilizes and is a source of renewable energy.


Adopts energy or fuel efficient farming practices and tools.


Adopts low greenhouse-gas emitting farming practices.


Animals are treated humanely.


Certified sustainable agricultural practices.


Enter etico

The etico app aims to cultivate an online community of sustainable diners. It is a platform where consumers can identify, support, and fact-check sustainable and transitioning restaurants with access to the secure blockchain database that stores sourcing data. The app is also a space for brand communications, where restaurants can showcase their journey towards sustainability, among other prides.

Meanwhile, the etico menu enhances the in-house dining experience through interactivity and transparency. The digital menu in the form of a folding screen allows for consumers to view key ingredient sourcing information without visual data clutter. Its dual screen capabilities makes the browsing experience novel, highly-interactive, and immersive. While waiting for orders, diners can view engaging content on their dish’s origins and ingredient journey. This transparency builds relationships between a consumer, their meals, and restaurants.

Service Map shows financial and data flows of the etico eco-system


The etico App

Restaurant Profile and Menu

Partnering restaurants have profile and menu pages on our app, where users can view menus in full, as well as restaurants’ efforts towards going sustainable. Each menu item has detailed ingredient information, highlighted allergens, nutritional information, and an AR feature for portioning preview.

Certified Source IDs

If a restaurant has an etico certified contract with a food source, this contract will be stored on our blockchain database, and have a unique eitco ID. The ID allows users to verify a contract’s validity and authenticity. Certified contracts show a source’s Sustainable Practices, as well as logistical details and dates, painting a full picture of an ingredient’s origins and journey.

Sustainable Practice Guide

Sustainable Practice tags such as “organic ingredient”, “ethically sourced”, and “clean energy” will be displayed alongside sources that carry out such practices. A succinct explanation of each practice can be found in the Sustainable Practice Guide, and the metrics that which etico certifies these practices with will also be displayed.

etico World

This community space allows restaurants and diners to interact and stay up to date with each other. Restaurants can post sustainable practice updates, promotions, and etico movements, while diners can leave reviews on restaurants, providing valuable feedback.

etico Movement

This community funding system garners support from diners to equip restaurants with the financial resources they need to achieve sustainable aspirations. For example, if a restaurant needs a certain amount of orders per day for a month to be able to afford a locally sourced ingredient, they can appeal to the etico community to donate to, or dine in more frequently to support their cause.

etico Movement

Consumers who “support” a restaurant will receive notifications when the restaurant starts and makes advancements in their movement. When the movement’s goal is hit, the primary reward would be the new sustainable option that the restaurant can now provide. Supporters who helped the restaurant become a part of the restaurant’s sustainable journey.

Onboarding & Dining Preference

Users’ dining preference can be used in-app and synced with an etico Menu to tailor dish suggestions based on sustainable practices that the user support, highlighted allergens or avoided ingredients, and filter out dishes that do not fit the user's diet.

Useful Links

The etico App

etico Menu in the form of a dual folding screen to enhances the in-house dining experience through interactively and transparency.

Targeted Painpoint:

The traditional paper menu limits information visualization, while a novel tablet could bring more engagement to diners.

Dual Folding Screen ::

A folding screen creates novel, highly interactive, and immersive in-house dining experiences and story-telling.

The folding mechanic maintains the universal mental model of reading a restaurant brochure menu.

The application of cloud computing can reduce the production cost while maintaining the concept novelty.

QR Code Menu alternative for partnered restaurants. Full business plan and revenue streams in Business Model.


The etico Menu

The Cherry on Top

The etico Folding Menu is designed for restaurants (fine dining, high budget) to maximize dining experience and sustainable story-telling.

Sync Dining Preferences

When a user’s phone is near an etico Menu, NFC signals from the menu will automatically prompt the user via a notification to sync their dining preferences to the etico menu. The menu can then give diners tailored dish suggestions, highlighted allergens or avoided ingredients, and filter out dishes that do not fit the user's diet.

Detailed Ingredient Information

With the etico menu’s dual screens, detailed dish information like a full ingredient list, sourcing information, allergens, and Sustainable Practice labels can be displayed without visual and cognitive overload.

Portion Visualization

A size representation graphic of a dish will be displayed on the menu, and scanning it with the etico app quickly pulls up the AR view. This allows users to accurately visualize a dish’s portion size, so that they can reduce food wastage.

Dish History & Ingredient Journey

While waiting for their order, diners can interact with engaging media and data on their dish. They can get better insight into a key ingredient’s logistical journey and dates, and view the conceptualization and sustainable evolution of a dish through an interactive timeline with anecdotes from restaurant staff.

Useful Links

The etico Menu



3 min read

Marketing Website

A coded marketing website of etico, including the brand's goals and missions, and the introduction of etico

8 min read

Project Summary

Research Summary, Concept Development, User Testing, Key Feature Showcase