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Fructopia - Guiding tool for people with fructose malabsorption

How can we help people with adjusting to their new diet and lifestyle after receiving the diagnosis „food intolerance“?

People have problems in adjusting to their new diet and lifestyle, because there is not enough guidance after receiving the diagnosis. Even if you can research almost everything nowadays, you will be overwhelmed with the new situation and the amount of information out there. This missing guidance and support in that initial phase was also validated in field research.

Date: 2018
Type of project: Student project
Project time: 2 months

ingredient list of convenience product

Observation of Maya who has ­fructose malabsorbtion.

I observed Maja for one morning preparing her breakfast. Maja is lactose intolerant and has a fructose malabsorption. Eating something spontaneously on the go is very difficult for her. In the course of time, she has been underweight, always in the fear to take something, which she could not stand. In a folder are in tabular form all foods with the corresponding fructose. Maja needed two months to memorize most of it. Today she does not have to look at it so often. Every evening she prepares for the next day. At the moment Maja is in a „elimination period“. The gut should detoxify. For this purpose, she completely dispenses fruits, vegetables, sugar and sweets for two weeks. To this day she is not free of complaints. She receives most of her information about recipes and alternatives for food on blogs and cook books written by other affected people.

observation of fructose patient
fructose list
receipt book for fructose intolerant people

Interviews with four people with food intolerances

In the beginning a list of hypotheses and indicators were set up, which helped to generate questions for the interview. Thanks to the previous observation some insights were already collected. After creating the interview questions two interview partners gave already enough insights to change the overall research and interview questions. The main focus was set from „problems with writing food diaries“ to „problems with adjusting to the new diet and lifestyle after receiving the diagnosis food intolerance“. With this change in focus two more people were interviewed to confirm these new insights. According to this the list of hypotheses were updated, categorised and validated or also dismissed. Hypotheses became insights and provided the basis for the value proposition, concept stance and requirements.

interview questions for people with a food intolerance

Insights and greatest takeaways

Users do often feel not taken seriously by their doctor. They use internet, social media and apps to inform themselves about their food intolerance, but are overwhelmed by the amount of information they suddenly have to learn. That is why, they miss a guiding hand how to adjust to the new diet and lifestyle and also personal and emotional support in dealing with their diagnosis. Nevertheless they also do not want to think about their food intolerance all the time. And even they know, they should not, they fall often back into their old eating behaviour.

Final target group

I focused on users who just received the diagnosis “fructose malabsorption”, as this group especially suffers from the severe changes in life.
What does fructose malabsorption mean? The body can not properly absorb fructose out of the food. Because of this there is an increase of fructose in the intestine, which leads for example to stomach ache, bloating, flatulence or diarrhea.¹
Why is this intolerance relevant? Because „[u]p to one in three people has some level of sugar intolerance - most commonly to fructose. However around half of these people may show no symptoms at all - until later in life.“ ²

Product Stance (personality)

By giving the product a personality in form of describing adjectives, I made sure the final design answered the attributes of my product. In this case the product should be informative, sympathetic, guiding, motivational and supportive.

Emotional and functional requirements

Based on the requirements, global concepts were developed to each requirement, to make sure the consolidated concept answered the needs of the users.


Daily small steps
Present content in daily small steps.


Ways to adjust
Help people to adjust to their new diet and lifestyle.


Emotional support
Motivate people in a friendly and sympathetic way.


Guide people through the initial phase after receiving the diagnosis.


Help people to learn more about their intolerance.

sketch of wireframes for app

"I wished, I had a little guiding hand, who helped me in the beginning after I received my diagnosis."

Fructopia is a little guide, which helps people with fructose malabsorption through the initial time, after receiving their diagnosis. Instead of throwing a mass of information on the user, it provides its help in little packages each day. This can be information, a personal story from other affected people, receipts or suggestion for further readings. It is important for these people to know, that they are not alone with their problem. From the functional perspective they will be better informed about their food intolerance and how to adjust their diet and lifestyle. And from the emotional perspective, which is seriously underestimated, they will receive emotional support, guidance and motivation on a daily basis.
The name "fructopia" was shamelessly stolen from the blogger and book writer Deniz Ficicioglu, who created a blog about fructose malabsorption, called Fructopia.

onboarding for fructopia app with a surprise everyday