Fighting Food Insecurity with the Budget Friendly Foodie!

Fighting Food Insecurity with the Budget Friendly Foodie!

An app that tackles food insecurity

Published Mar 9, 2024
Community Impact
The Problem
Let's start with two definitions:
  • Food security is having access to enough food for an active, healthy life.
  • Nutrition security is consistent access, availability, and affordability of foods that promote well-being and prevent disease.
That means that food and nutrition insecurity describes limited or uncertain access to affordable nutritious foods and is considered a major public health crisis. The risk for multiple chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease is often associated with food insecurity an the lack of access to affordable nutritious foods. As of 2020, almost 15% of U.S. households were food insecure at some point in time, meaning that not all members were able to have enough food to support active, healthy lifestyles. Of this, 11 million were children! In addition, food insecurity affects people of color and economically-disadvantaged people at disproportional rates.
The Numbers
As of 2021:
  • 20% of Black/African American households
  • 16% of Hispanic/Latino households
were considered food insecure.
In the past 20 years, Indigenous populations (American Indian/Alaskan Native) households have experienced rates of 25% across different regions and communities.
Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander populations have a food insecurity prevalence of approximately 20.5%,
Amongst the Asian American population, food insecurity was found in California to be highest amongst Vietnamese households (16.4), Filipino (8.3%), Chinese (7.6%), Korean (6.7%), South Asian (3.14%), and Japanese (2.3%) populations.
Finally, food insecurity has been linked to poverty, with 35.3% of households with incomes below the poverty line have been found to be food insecure.
Our Solution
Currently, many food apps assume that the end user is food secure. Parameters such as food preferences, type of cuisine, and other dietary restraints (are you gluten sensitive? level 8 vegan?) are used in offering different recipes.
The Budget Friendly Foodie takes a different approach by focusing on the food insecure. The app hopes to alleviate some of these issues mentioned above by providing healthy and affordable to these vulnerable populations.
In version 1.0, we consider the location, budget, number of servings, available time to cook, and dietary restrictions in the recipe offerings. Once the inputs are given, the app offers five quick and easy recipes along with the locations of grocery stores that would offer the ingredients at affordable prices.
Should the user not have the ingredients on hand or have time to shop, then the user can simply list what ingredients are available and the app will provide recipes that are quick and nutritious instead.
We are aiming to be used by these vulnerable populations by hopefully partnering with local food banks, non-profits, and other organizations. The other usecase can be for university students which often have limited budgets, time, and foresight to produce healthy food options.
In future versions, we hope to provide more detailed information about the current prices of different ingredients to give the location with the most affordable price for a given meal. In addition, we hope to have images of the different recipes to help the user choose what recipe to pick.