Plentiful

Modernizing New York City’s food pantry system

Plentiful Hero

Overview

Every year, 130 million pounds of free food is distributed to 1.4 million New Yorkers who depend on it. But the process of getting that food has been far from dependable. Food pantries struggled to organize information and modernize their intake process, while people regularly spent hours waiting in line, sometimes ending up with nothing.

NYC Food Assistance Collaborative was looking for a way to both enhance customer service and improve data collection in emergency food. Together we made Plentiful, a free reservation system for food pantries and the people they serve.

Our Role

  • Research
  • Product Definition
  • Naming
  • Branding
  • Product Design
  • Signage
  • Development

Research

We complied a collection of insights around how families interacted with the pantries.

This was our motto throughout the project. We had to streamline the system already in place, not upend what was already working or create an entirely new system.

This started by understanding ingrained behaviors, beliefs, and needs. Through a series of in-depth interviews, forums, and surveys, we compiled a collection of insights around how families interacted with the pantries, and how the pantries themselves operated internally. This set us on the right path to design an experience that improved things for everyone.

Visual Identity

Creating a trustworthy, welcoming identity

Before we could streamline the system, we needed to create the brand. Our primary brand goal was to demonstrate to both families and pantries that this service was clear, trustworthy, welcoming, and informative. All our work was tested to ensure it resonated with our audience.

When naming Plentiful, we wanted a direction that was true to the benefit, not the problem. To balance the aspirational nature of the name, we paired it with an icon that clearly represents what Plentiful is all about: getting families the food they need to thrive.

To soften the overall utilitarian nature of the app, we chose a fresh looking and welcoming color palette. Roboto was chosen as the brand typeface for its high legibility and extended language support.

Product Design

We designed a dignified experience for families and pantries

When naming Plentiful, we wanted a direction that was true to the benefit, not the problem. To balance the aspirational nature of the name, we paired it with an icon that clearly represents what Plentiful is all about: getting families the food they need to thrive.

To soften the overall utilitarian nature of the app, we chose a fresh looking and welcoming color palette. Roboto was chosen as the brand typeface for its high legibility and extended language support.

For the families

The Plentiful app for clients provides a simple and reliable way to book appointments.

  • Find food pantries across all 5 boroughs

  • Schedule an appointment at a Plentiful pantry

  • Support in 9 different languages

  • Android app and SMS service

  • Check-in, registration & documentation verification

For the pantries

We designed a dashboard to provide Pantries with a slew of tools tailored just for them.

  • Set up and manage reservation times

  • Manage walk-in’s and create waiting lists

  • Streamline the client check-in process

  • Registration and document verification

  • Manage client profiles & communications

  • Customizable intake forms based on individual pantry needs

  • Analytics to track impact and required resources

Design

Getting the word out

Finally, we created a beautiful and easy to navigate site to help Plentiful educate food service programs around the city and a collection of signage, collateral and promotional items for use by Pantries and their customers.

Results

Plentiful is still growing at an astounding rate, adding on average 7000 new families per month while maintaining an 80% retention rate.

To date, we've improved hundreds of thousands of pantry visits for over a hundred thousand clients all across New York City.

That’s more food to more clients, in less time. That’s shorter lines. Less time waiting in the cold. Or in the heat. That’s reliable data that can be used to help improve pantry operations and consistently enhance how New Yorkers get the food they depend on, all while making a system feel more like a service.

4,010,785
Appointments made through Plentiful
811,908
Families registered
429
Pantries (and counting)