We participated in the HungerTech Innovation Challenge, hosted by AgriNovus Indiana and Elevance Health. Our solution competed with 18 Teams over 4 weeks and received an honorable mention.


Vending Machine to help SNAP and EBT households with basic food needs in a food desert, which reduces food insecurity.

My Role

User Research
Design Strategy


Myself & 3 UX Designers


8 Weeks

Project Deliverables

User Research
Product Design
Service Design

Design Thinking Methodologies

User Interview
Dot Voting
Crazy 8

Project Overview

Food insecurity is a growing issue in Indiana, affecting a significant portion of the population. 1 in 5 people live in a food desert. Our vending machine will be placed in food deserts with nutritious food and accept food stamps.

Research findings reveal that an accessible spot (gas station) with nutritious food would cater to the major needs of the population. Eating the right food in low quantity also meets daily nutritious needs. The dignified shopping experience for SNAP users and, the stigma of using food stamps in grocery stores is busted.

Problem Statement
As a

food insecure person living in a food desert/ food swamp

I want

access to nutritious food

So that

I can have a better lifestyle than what I currently have


the food banks and the food pantries only have canned or preserved food that is high in sodium.

Design Process

Desk Research
User Interview


Empathy Mapping
User Persona


Crazy 8


High-fidelity mockup
Business Viability


User Feedback

Desk Research

To clearly understand the problem we are solving we went through numerous articles to get a grasp of the SNAP program and publications to learn from the existing solutions. To find the right material on the web, we have been trained by librarians to do effective web searches.

As part of desk research, we did environment analysis and
individually looked at each contributing force.

Current Business Environment
Market Forces
Industry Forces
  • Demand for healthy food options
  • Food insecurity
  • Increasing smartphone usage
  • Highly competitive food industry
  • Supply chain management
  • Regulations
Macro-Economic Forces
Key Trends
  • Economic conditions
  • Inflation
  • Digitization
  • Sustainability
User Interview

I interviewed a SNAP beneficiary, who is currently a part-time undergraduate student. Besides this, we interviewed a university employee who was a SNAP recipient. Additionally, we also conducted interviews with stakeholders from food banks who work closely with SNAP recipients and nutritionists to understand the nutrition needs of these users.

Affinity Mapping
Empathy Mapping
User Persona
Crazy 8
Business Viability
Value Proposition
  • The FoodBox would focus on offering basic necessities like fresh fruit, milk, bread, and eggs - which are often overlooked by traditional/smart dispensers.
  • The FoodBox will also collect data to improve the selection and availability of food items.
  • With this, food is now more accessible with increased convenience, without traveling the distance.
  • Our mobile app provides additional convenience by giving the option to pre-order food items from the FoodBox.
How do we create value?
  • Increased convenience: Customers can save time and effort with the option to pre-order for meal prep and avoid standing in long lines.
  • Increased accessibility: The dispenser is placed in food deserts, providing closer access to food from home.
  • Strategic placement: Our smart dispensers will be placed in the highest-ranked food deserts in the counties of central Indiana like Marion, Jhonson, Hamilton, and Hendricks. Public spaces like community centers, bus stations, and parks will be leveraged.
How do we deliver value?
  • IoT-enabled solution: Allow for efficient and seamless operation of the smart food dispenser, from pre-ordering through authentication to dispensing food items. It also enables data collection to train the AI model that can be used to improve and predict the service over time.
  • Low maintenance costs: With minimal overhead costs from leasing the smart dispensers, the only expenses we now incur are food supplies and operational costs.

  • Scalability: Easy to scale up and replicate to serve larger communities.

What would we do better if we had more time?
  • Research what other food items can be placed in the vending machine that is healthy and affordable for SNAP users.
  • Do beta testing with a closed group of users in a selected area to see any blind spot that couldn't be addressed in the existing solution and cover these features in future releases.
  • Algorithm to dispense soon-to-expire food to SNAP users while purchasing, and notify them through toast notifications or text messages about free pickup.
  • Wicked problem can be solved with a structured approach and extensive research
  • Discussing periodically with stakeholders is required to gaze at the viability of the solution
  • Creating a sustainable business solution yet generating profits is possible

Humanizing technology, one pixel at a time.

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