Student design helps battle food waste at home

Student product designer Kai Wang has been offered a work placement with a global tech company after he created a clever kitchen gadget to turn leftovers into tasty fresh meals.

Potluck makes stock cubes from food scraps and has landed Brunel University London MSc student Kai a work placement with tech firm NCR Corporation in the RSA Student Design Awards.

“I am very excited to start work and to get a taste of design in the professional setting,” said Kai, 22, from Bath. “I’m really looking forward to exploring user-centred design in depth and widening my knowledge of graphical and UX design tools and processes.”

Family values and horror of waste inspired the product after Kai was hit by the fact that 71% of UK food waste happens in the home. That equates to every family throwing away £810 worth of food a year.

“Growing up, my family has lived by the ‘waste not, want not’ ethos,” he said. “And that statistic highlighted that, just as consumers are the main cause of food waste, we, the consumers, also have the greatest power to reduce food waste.”

How it works

  • Blend or dice veg or meat meal leftovers or out-of-date food
  • Spoon the mix into the base
  • Add water and seasoning
  • Blast it all on the hob until contents boiled down.
  • Cover with lid and collapse the pot down to store in the fridge or freezer.

“Kai’s Potluck is a highly innovative solution towards resolving the pressing societal issue of food waste,” said Dr Vanja Garaj, head of Brunel Design. “It’s a testament to Brunel Design’s educational approach, which puts social responsibility at the top of the agenda.”

Soon Kai will start his paid 12-week paid internship at NCR’s Dundee Research and Development Centre. The global design giant is behind the software and hardware that drives many of the everyday restaurant, retail and banking transactions.

“One of the experienced members of the team will be assigned as his mentor and Kai will shadow the mentor on other projects and experience live R&D programme processes,” said NCR Corporation senior director, user-centred design, Charlie Rohan.

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