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An IoT product for working parents to reduce stress while preparing healthy meals by providing the family the ability to divide and conquer on meal planning tasks and get rewarded for it.

Made for





Product Designer

My Role

Frita was initially my passion project for which I researched the market and designed the application to get user feedback.  A year later at CMU, with an interdisciplinary team, we accidentally approached this project again but with a different target audience i.e Working parents. During this second phase of iteration, I played the role of a designer and user researcher to refine the idea however the form changed to an IoT device after research. We got further validation on this concept and finally was suggested to make it a multi-platform product. This led me to do another digital iteration of the product which is responsive throughout multiple platforms.  

Initial Problem statement: 

"How might a product or service reduce the stress associated with family meal-planning for working parents?"

Project Overview

(Iteration 1: August-December 2018 ; Iteration 2: October-December 2019 ; Iteration 3: December 2020)

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Initially a mobile application addressing only the food expiration problem, Frita was taken through a second double diamond product development process in a team of 4 where we found out that the more important need is to have your family assist you in the process of meal prep in order to make it less stressful and more fun. We therefore arrived at a hybrid product offering of a mobile application that gets integrated within a kitchen IoT product.


Working parents, with children in primary and middle schools, need a better coping strategy to plan healthy meals creatively and efficiently. 

User Research

Want to prepare healthy meals for their families


Don't identify as meal planners


Want to do it creatively


Don't have time to explore

Secondary Research


Regular consumption of nutritious meals can improve digestion and maintain active metabolic cycles.


When it comes to the preparation of meals, women continue to perform the majority of cooking and housework although men have nearly doubled their overall cooking time.


There is an increase in kitchen appliance technologies and meal-prep assistive tools. However, parents rarely rely on meal kit services. 


Americans with healthier diets that are rich in fresh and organic produce were found to generate more food waste.

Target Audience


Meet Ann Lee

35 years old

Associate Professor, CMU

Pittsburgh, PA

"I would enjoy planning meals if there was a service that empowers me to be a better planner."

Prepare Healthy Meals

Prepare Healthy Meals

Motivation behind meal planning is to prepare healthy meals for her family.

Find Healthy Meals

Find Healthy Meals

She very much likes her family helping her in the meal planning tasks.

Stressed while cooking

Stressed while cooking

She mostly doesn't enjoy it and feels stressed out while cooking.

Help in meal planning

Help in meal planning

For herself, she seeks out healthy meals as well but are difficult to find.

Product Opportunity

A product or service to reduce the stress associated with family meal-planning for working parents.

Cater to different dietary restrictions

Cater to different dietary restrictions

Preparing healthy meals.

Preparing healthy meals.


Maintain  regular meal times

Maintain regular meal times

Curated recipes & shared information

Curated recipes & shared information

Product Requirement


  • The product must enable parents to create nutritional meals and monitor their family’s nutrition regularly.

  • The product must provide a means to reduce stress levels of parents while cooking.

  • The product’s functionality must resonate and comply with the user’s lifestyle.


  • The product should enable parents to consume meals within regular timeframes.

  • The product should be able to help parents discover new ingredients and encourage parents to use them.

  • The product should foster family engagement throughout the meal planning process


  • Product could make parents feel validated by their family members about the meals that they prepare.            

  • The product could provide for a more joyous experience during the meal prep process.

  • The product could inspire children to learn meal planning.

Concept (IoT product + Mobile Application)

IoT Product

IoT Product

Enter family size

Parents set up the profile for each of the family members


When a person comes nearby the device, it asks the user if they want to help prep for the week 


Based on the profile, a weekly meal plan is created and refined


It assigns the person a task according to the family member's ability


View ingredients to shop for and track nutrition


Once the task has been achieved, based on the task completed, the person will get rewards such as choose the next meal or go out to eat

Mobile Application Prototype

As the device does not provide as much mobility and accessibility, we decided to create an app that can be utilized to enter more detailed information and set the tasks which can then be displayed onto the device.

Hi-Fi Protos

Tracking grocery expiration dates

Adding new items in the fridge

Keep track of the tasks that are based on the set meals.

Meals that are set by one of the family members. One can help prep for the meals they're interested in.

Frita helps keep track of items that are running out and adds them to the grocery list projected onto a neighborhood map

Profile setting that identifies habits and preferences of each of the family members. This also helps Frita divide tasks

User Flow

Application user flow & Wireframes

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User flow

Other Platforms

We also realize that not everyone would want to purchase the device itself to gain the complete value and as there are multiple platforms such as Google nest hub that allow in-kitchen screen interaction, we aim to provide the app solution that would be compatible with such platforms.


My Reflection

A key learning from Project Frita was learning how to pivot once there is a change in the target audience for a solution. Once we did a second round of user studies related to food management,  we realized that the most important user group to target is working parents which was a pivot from the initial target audience of young working individuals who live alone. This change in audience didn't just change the solution but also the platform we made the solution on. After multiple rounds of feedback, we also realized that a single platform was not ideal for this solution and we therefore made a cross-functional solution which was an important takeaway from this project.

Other projects

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