Cary – helping young consumers to buy their groceries more sustainably.

Cary’s Team

Henrik Bredenbals
Johannes Kaufmann
Joscha Alisch

Cary’s Overview

In alignment with the SDG’s that the better future lab is supporting, Cary aims to tackle number 12 (responsible consumption & production). To do this Cary bets on young consumers to have the greatest potential for increased sustainability amongst consumers in the long-term.

Problem / Opportunity

Young consumers are at a reflective stage of integrating themselves into the social consumer norm, where decision making processes are evolving and influences to developing materialistic tendencies exist strongly nowadays. They are considered a key target group by researchers, policy makers, and educators alike, as it is highly necessary to intervene in current mainstream unsustainable consumption malpractices and patterns. Food is one of the areas that is ecologically most relevant in terms of pollution and material requirements, where young consumers often perceive food consumption primarily from the healthy nutrition and trend perspective, which is just part of the situation. The other parts are found across ecological, economical and social dimensions which all fit into 3 consumption phases: acquisition, usage, disposal.

Our generation is in an educational gap when it comes to thinking about food sustainably. There is more than just the lack of understanding sustainable purchasing intentions and behaviours as seen in many other young consumers nowadays. This can be seen in an interview study done with 140 young consumers that identifies young consumers perceived barriers which influence the intention–behavior gap for sustainable consumption. Among the answers it shows, 133 realized consumption behaviors and 99 mentioned barriers. Even though these barriers will be changing with the generations to come, the potential to find a starting point in collecting, supporting, and furthermore promoting sustainable young consumer purchasing behaviour is a problem that is worth solving.

Approach

Cary guides users in their purchasing journey from a predefined starting point that is derived from a personal onboarding process. The data provided by the users will be categorised into sustainability dimensions (ecological, economical, social), preferences (i.e. preferred certifications, supermarkets, allergies) and the shopping list items (amounts, type) they input into the in-app shopping list feature. To turn the data into actionable steps for the user, the app uses validated methods for measurement such as the “Young Consumer Sustainability Consumption Behaviour scale” and the “Consciousness for Sustainable Consumption Scale” (CSC Scale) in order to provide young consumers with an understandable journey with milestones showing their change in sustainability and the ability to assess their own consumption behaviour.

In the first steps the users will have the option to include pre-existing consumption behaviours and preferences within the on-boarding in a few steps or skip it and directly start using their sustainable shopping list. Either way, every product that the young consumer types into their shopping list will be evaluated on demand and then turned into suggestions of how to think about these products more sustainably before buying them. For the users who want to measure their success, a profile along with milestones will provide them with short-term weekly sustainability goals and long-term sustainability levels they can achieve. The completion of these sustainability goals will create visual success outcomes for young consumers to collect, share, and remember. This creates an environment where young consumers can start consciously thinking about their food consumption behavior while having less uncertainty when making a purchasing decision.

Next Steps

Project was understood as a collective learning and research approach to an important problem. Project is put on hold for now.

Cary’s Press Release

Cary helps young consumers to buy their groceries more sustainably

Cary helps young consumers make more sustainable food
purchasing decisions.

Berlin, Germany – 11.01.2020

Today many young consumers have little to no support for understanding their food consumption patterns and the impact it may have. We can see difficulties in acquiring, understanding, and acting on more sustainable ways to buy and consume food. This is a reason why the solution assists, motivates, and supports young consumers in Berlin to make more educated food purchasing decisions in terms of sustainability. The solution benefits and incentivises increased sustainable consumption patterns for future generations, and grow awareness about food criteria plus its effects on the environment in a more comprehensible manner than current sources offer.

Today many young consumers have little to no support for understanding their food
consumption patterns and the impact it may have. We can see difficulties in acquiring,
understanding, and acting on more sustainable ways to buy and consume food.
This is a reason why the solution assists, motivates, and supports young consumers in
Berlin to make more educated food purchasing decisions in terms of sustainability. The
solution benefits and incentivises increased sustainable consumption patterns for future
generations, and grow awareness about food criteria plus its effects on the environment in a
more comprehensible manner than current sources offer.

Young consumers are at a reflective stage of integrating themselves into the social consumer norm, where decision making processes are evolving and influences to developing materialistic tendencies exist strongly nowadays. They are considered a key target group by researchers, policy makers, and educators alike, as it is highly necessary to intervene in current mainstream unsustainable consumption malpractices and patterns. Food is one of the areas that is ecologically most relevant in terms of pollution and material requirements, where young consumers often perceive food consumption primarily from the healthy nutrition and trend perspective, which is just part of the situation. The other parts are found across ecological, economical and social dimensions which all fit into 3 consumption phases: acquisition, usage, disposal.

“Things like sustainable food consumption are rarely thought about in an educated way” says Paula, a 20 year old living in Berlin (project interview) who believes her generation is in an educational gap when it comes to thinking about food sustainably. There is more than just the lack of understanding sustainable purchasing intentions and behaviours as seen in many other young consumers nowadays. This can be seen in an interview study done with 140 young consumers that identifies young consumers perceived barriers which influence the intention–behavior gap for sustainable consumption. Among the answers it shows, 133 realized consumption behaviors and 99 mentioned barriers. Even though these barriers will be changing with the generations to come, the potential to find a starting point in collecting, supporting, and furthermore promoting sustainable young consumer purchasing behaviour is a problem that is worth solving.

Cary guides users in their purchasing journey from a predefined starting point that is derived from a personal onboarding process. The data provided by the users will be categorised into
sustainability dimensions (ecological, economical, social), preferences (i.e. preferred certifications, supermarkets, allergies) and the shopping list items (amounts, type) they input
into the in-app shopping list feature. To turn the data into actionable steps for the user, the app uses validated methods for measurement such as the “Young Consumer Sustainability Consumption Behaviour scale” and the “Consciousness for Sustainable Consumption Scale” (CSC Scale) in order to provide young consumers with an understandable journey with milestones showing their change in sustainability and the ability to assess their own
consumption behaviour.

“I usually used to enter a supermarket blind. I make my consumption choices mostly based on taste, price, or convenience. This completely changed once I found out about the negative consequences some of the better looking or cheaper priced products have to the
environment. Even with that in mind, it still can be hard or time consuming to get the necessary information to make a more conscious choice. This is where this solution really plays it’s part well.” Says Jasper, the initiator of the project.

In the first steps the users will have the option to include pre-existing consumption behaviours and preferences within the on-boarding in a few steps or skip it and directly start using their sustainable shopping list. Either way, every product that the young consumer types into their shopping list will be evaluated on demand and then turned into suggestions of how to think about these products more sustainably before buying them. For the users
who want to measure their success, a profile along with milestones will provide them with short-term weekly sustainability goals and long-term sustainability levels they can achieve. The completion of these sustainability goals will create visual success outcomes for young consumers to collect, share, and remember. This creates an environment where young consumers can start consciously thinking about their food consumption behavior while having less uncertainty when making a purchasing decision.

In the word’s of Paula “Even though I barely ever used a shopping list previously, I now understand how important it is to plan and think about my grocery shopping before I go out and buy my groceries. I am happy that someone took the time to conveniently provide young consumers with the necessary first steps to make better food purchasing decisions.”

To learn more about this initiative and how you can improve your mindset when it comes to buying groceries sustainably, please have a look at www.meinmarkt.berlin

Cary’s FAQ

Customer

Q: How will I know that the products that are shown to me are available at the listed locations?

A: We aim to stay updated with the latest live product data coming from various food and wholesale APIs (tbd) we have embedded into our platform.

Q: How can I trust the information you provide me about the products?
A: We will only be using the latest information provided by known sustainable food organisations and institutions (reference on our website), meaning if you trust them, you can trust us.

Q: Will this platform actually motivate me to buy my groceries more sustainably?
A: Our goal is to create personalised assistance based on your preferences and experiences in grocery shopping. Through the information we have about you, our software will evaluate
what next steps you may take to be more sustainable in your next grocery shopping trip. According to this information we will include little milestones and rewards to show your
improvements with every trip you make!

Q: What happens if I don’t choose to buy some of my listed products sustainably?
A: That decision stays with you of course. All we can do is provide you the necessary information to encourage you in making less of those choices in the long-term.

Q: Will the products cost more?
A: On the contrary! Based on your provided preferences we can display you sustainable products for cheaper prices.

Q: How are you helping me to make more conscious buying decisions?
A: In alignment with studies contracted by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF; https://www.bibb.de/de/33716.php) and the findings/methods of Fischer, D., Böhme, T. & Geiger, S. M. (2017) Cary guides users in their purchasing journey from a predefined starting point that is derived from a personal onboarding process. The data provided by you will be categorised into sustainability dimensions (ecological, economical, social), preferences (i.e. preferred certifications, supermarkets, allergies) and the shopping list items (amounts, type) you input into the in-app shopping list feature. To turn this data into actionable steps for you, the app uses validated methods for measurement such as the “Young Consumer Sustainability Consumption Behaviour scale” and the “Consciousness for
Sustainable Consumption Scale” (CSC Scale) in order to provide young consumers like yourself with an understandable journey with milestones showing their change in sustainability and the ability to assess their own consumption behaviour.

Q: Can I buy products from your platform?
A: No, for now.

Operators/Partners

Q: Have you tested this yet? How will young consumers really know they are making sustainable purchasing decisions?
A: The measurements and suggestions we provide the users with have been validated by various studies and institutions. In alignment with studies contracted by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research Cary guides users in their purchasing journey from a predefined starting point that is derived from a personal onboarding process. The data provided by the customer will be categorised into sustainability dimensions (ecological,
economical, social), preferences (i.e. preferred certifications, supermarkets, allergies) and the shopping list items (amounts, type) you input into the in-app shopping list feature. To turn
this data into actionable steps for the customer, the app uses validated methods for measurement such as the “Young Consumer Sustainability Consumption Behaviour scale” and the “Consciousness for Sustainable Consumption Scale” (CSC Scale) in order to provide young consumers like yourself with an understandable journey with milestones showing their change in sustainability and the ability to assess their own consumption behaviour.

Q: Where will you be getting the relevant product information?
A: We will source the product information from updated API’s along with some manual input via field research, and furthermore cooperations with sellers who will upload and update
content themselves.

Q: Will this have an impact on one of the SDG’s?
A: First and foremost we are focusing on the SDG number 12 (responsible production and consumption). Through providing better access to regional food and products, we aim to decrease the material footprint caused through long and complex supply chains and cheaper sourcing of food. Through an increased demand for regional food we aim to show users the impact they have to sustainability with every purchase, leading to better consumption
behaviour.

Q: What is your messaging that you will give to show customers that you are really selling sustainable food products?
A: We look into and display the standards of the most widely known sustainability certifications alongside where the product was originally bought. This provides the customer with references they can look into when in need of clearer information regarding why a
certain product may or may not be sustainable.

Q: How does your business model look like?
A: From the B2B side we will be focusing on exclusive products from organic stores, weekly farmers markets, and other vendors where we will charge a “per product” monthly fee from the respective business owners. On the B2C side we will start the usage of the application on a “Freemium” basis, where the customer gains insights into additional beneficial features while already using Cary.

Q: How will this project impact the lives of students at CODE?
A: As students are a large part of our target group (young consumers), we believe every student could use the app if their intention is to consume food more sustainably.

Cary’s Architectural Overview