Quick Note: This was a project I did during my time at the Academy of Art University. It is strictly a design, and concept exercise. While not the same, by a long shot: Blue Apron and Hello Fresh have occupied this cultural deficit and have found traction in what I imagined Tribal Fare addressing. I find reward in knowing that I was on to something, as the space that I envisioned being filled by my little project has been identified and exploited to grow businesses by bigger, better and connected teams.
Tribal Fare is an application that is based on an experimental idea: what if we used technology to help us backtrack the distribution of meals to be based around the home, communities, and household kitchens?
Tribal Fare is a sharing economy application that brings small communities together and take the responsibility of food preparation out of the hands of large companies and fast food chains. Tribal Fare offers customers the opportunity to eat and share in the meals created by their families, neighbors, friends and people they trust.
Non Processed food.
Food made in mass from restaurants (especially fast food restaurants), is extremely low in nutrition density. More and more health food experts recommend only home food preparation, and eliminating restaurants from our normal eating habits. With Tribal Fare, you can disrupt the dietary infrastructure, and rely on your community, and more importantly you can choose your community and your food that you consume. You get to choose the standards for food that you eat.
Working with local farmers and food producers instead of big box corporations allows kitchens the opportunity to cook the best, most nutrition dense food available; while reducing cost of transportation, distribution centers, and handlers. Tribal fare enables groups, and communities to buy from local farmers and food producers and allows you to represent a community instead of just yourself; reducing price by buying in large quantities.
Diet Focused Communities
Tribal fare is about communities making food choices for themselves within their own communities. It becomes empowering to eat healthy when supported by a community that provides food for a group. A Tribal fare community can be Paleo, Vegan, allergy sensitive or whatever, and this will allow for community members to eat according to their dietary choices.
Competitive and User Research
Taking an assessment of new food delivery models was key. The last few years have seen a multitude of delivery services pop up all vying for the chance to offer food from an app order. Grub Hub, Postmates and the like, gives all restaurant a take out option. Businesses like Sprig and Munchery provide a much more aligned service by bringing in chefs and producing food food in their kitchens.
They will be competing for a market share and look to grow their margins. This will eventually lead to a reduced quality of product. Tribal Fare can glean a lot from these companies, and still offer a different option. It is not the provider of food, rather the system in which to empower a local based community to provide for themselves.
A user base that would employ Tribal Fare was also hashed out. Tribal Fare could be a tool for many including those communities who need assistance with food, the elderly, or working parents who want to use group method to provided allergy sensitive or healthy lunch options for their children. Our primary group would be young professionals who have recently come to rely on commercial food sources for multiple meals a day.
The task of coordinating a large scale weekly meal planning system takes planning, and is rarely dynamic. The complex systems of our infrastructure has eliminated the ease that allowed food to be prepared in the family home. Using Tribal Fare, people can take away the planning of meals and rely on a food provider to create the meal system with which they can enjoy. The system in place would not take hold, unless adopted by users. The engine that drives the ecosystem is the users who provide meals, as well as the users who consume meals for a fee.
User Journeys were laid out to visualize the ease of onboarding a new kitchen, as well as how members would sign up to begin receiving meals. A challenge that lays before this project would be adoption of the system, so a smooth onboarding system was a must.
The goal of visual design was to invoke the feelings of natural, organic, community. Natural browns with complementary greens and oranges were decided to push the feel towards instinctual growth and enjoyment.
The logo and branding of Tribal Fare had a large message while maintaining simplicity. The designed symbol is meant to imply many meanings. The symbol is reminiscent of an arrow, a roof or shelter and holds the letters T and F. ‘A meal sharing app for communities’ summarizes the system in a quick and memorable tagline.
This application concept is the first step to visualizing a system in which we can utilize technology to take everyday meal creation back from the large corporate restaurants and put it back into kitchens and communities. Making this a reality in which people could use and rely on would require more research and planning.
- An investigation to what local farms and food providers would be willing to sell at a rate that would make this plan viable.
- A handful of test kitchens to suss out what would be the best practices for the kitchens to undertake.
- A look into how delivery systems could function best and how best to implement them.
- An in depth look at the legal issues that would come with health inspections, and other restaurant regulations that drive up prices
- An understanding of pricing structures and how to best serve the communities, as well as the kitchens.
Using tech to make meal prep and planning a community activity again is a worthwhile pursuit. Health systems could be retaken from those who are providing sub par meals. We can return to what our natural state: Food is made and given by your community and your family.