App for Earth-Friendly Foods
Downtown Madison residents may soon be able to further support the local economy and endorse environmental protection while grocery shopping with the help of a smart phone application developed by University of Wisconsin graduate students.
The True Local iPhone application, developed by UW graduate students Claus Moberg, Jami Morton and Matt Luedke of SnowShoeFood LLC, can inform a customer at Fresh Madison Market if an item was produced in Wisconsin, according to a statement from UW.
SnowShoeFood co-founder Moberg said when customers take a picture with their iPhone of the barcode of a product, the app will display whether the product was made in Wisconsin. If the food was produced out of state, the app will direct the user to a similar item from the state.
Along with assisting the local economy, he said buying local products has a positive impact on the environment and reduce fuel emissions.
He added the app will also send the user a coupon on the phone if the item is on sale.
The development process began a year ago when the team won $15,000 in the Climate Leadership Challenge, a competition on campus aiming to promote innovative ideas to slow the effects climate change, Moberg said.
The team submitted a concept for a separate iPhone app that would calculate the carbon footprint associated with specific items carried by local grocery stores.
Jeff Maurer, owner of Fresh Madison Market, said in a statement his customers “tend to be pro-local and environmentally conscious, as well as tech-savvy,” so the app was effective in meeting their needs.
“We realized that there was a real need for the type of information,” Moberg said, “It was something that [Jeff Maurer] thought the customer would really enjoy and would sort of add a lot of value to their shopping experience.”
Moberg added he hopes the app will promote the sale of locally grown foods and increase the percentage of Wisconsin-made products purchased in the store.
He said the team hopes the app will contribute to lowering the overall carbon footprint in the food production system. According to the statement, the app went live Wednesday during Fresh Madison Market’s True Local campaign, which highlights Wisconsin food products.
By: Matt Huppert