Uncommon CX cooks up interactive cost-of-living cookbook

The studio has developed The Yellow Sticker Cookbook, a recipe app that helps users incorporate reduced food items into meals.

Uncommon CX has launched its self-funded project The Yellow Sticker Cookbook, seeking to provide a solution for the cost-of-living crisis by helping people put together meals from supermarkets’ reduced sections.

After seeing that one in seven Brits were skipping meals to save money, the team at Uncommon started on the idea for The Yellow Sticker Cookbook app, named after the yellow stickers used to indicate reduced-price goods approaching their sell-by date. Uncommon founder Jonathan Goodman says that releasing the app “at a time of year when people might be feeling the pinch more than ever” was a key consideration.

While the reduced sections of supermarkets have the potential to help people make their money go further, its often a challenge to “put a quick meal together from random items”, according to Goodman. The Yellow Sticker Cookbook aims to make it easier to incorporate these items into meals without having to think too much about it.

In order to reach a larger audience, the app’s interface and experience has been designed to be “as easy and intuitive as possible”, says Goodman. He adds that the studio sought to simplify the experience by implementing a three-step process.

The first step is for users to scan the barcode of a food item via the Yellow Sticker Cookbook web app. It uses Google Vision API to identify the scanned items , which users then confirm to receive a list of relevant recipe options. There is also the option to add in ingredients that they have at home for “even more tailored recipe results”, says Goodman.

Once a recipe is chosen, the app provides all of the information on how to prepare and cook the meal.

Building the experience to “drive better search results” required a lot of testing and manual updates, as “the AI technology being used is still advancing”, says Goodman.

One example was the discovery that searching for the word pasta in the Laravel API’s dictionary did not return any recipes. The dictionary has a single pasta as a “Pastum” and a plural as “Pastas”, therefore not recognising “pasta” as an ingredient, Goodman explains. He says that these “random results needed manual overriding” to generate suitable meal recommendations.

The Yellow Sticker Cookbook aims to make “buying reduced food fun”, so Uncommon kept families in mind throughout the design process, says Goodman. When thinking about people’s cooking ability, the studio worked on the basis that users “cook at home, but are not entirely confident chefs”, he adds.

Uncommon wanted to evoke the “wonky printer look” often found on receipts and reduced barcode stickers themselves, says Goodman. It opted for Pangram Pangram Foundry’s pixel font Neuebit for its grotesks and serif qualities, which fit with “the brutalist tone of the web app”, he explains.

The app is designed to work across all recent devices and meets standard accessibility levels. Goodman says that the goal is to bring partners onboard as it grows to become “a scalable platform that can incorporate more recipe content from chefs and brands in the future”.

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