Good Food —
Empowering Food Decisions
Umeå Institute of Design 2016 20 Week Master Thesis
How do we empower people to make mindful, informed food decisions?
We face it in the supermarket every day: sifting through deluge options, asking ourselves, what food to pick and whether or not our choice is a good choice. The Good Food experience proposes a self-motivated approach of food education that enables people to understand the food they buy by first of all understanding themselves: What are my own criteria for good food?
But what is good food ?
Behind today’s food, there are complex supply chains and especially technological advances in food processing that have made us unsure about the food‘s origin. We hear about organic food, processed food, or as a very current and controversial example, the introduction of genetically modified food. We might have a very little understanding or even a wrong understanding of what our food of today is. But – we all have an opinion, we all have certain expectations or conceptions of what might be good for us
The GOOD FOOD experience enables the customers to make decisions not on food in the first place, but on values around food and food production, such as environmental or social sustainability. It challenges them to think about what is important to them or how they expect "good food“ to be. A visual guidance based on their ideal food helps find the food that meets those values.
Good Food takes a new perspective on the complexity of grocery shopping based on the customers' mindsets – understanding this complexity begins with understanding yourself.
Make up your mind
What are your food values? Make up your mind about what criteria your „good food“ should meet and create a your personal food profile in form of a 7-armed spider chart.
Make a choice
Your own criteria will help you sift through and compare the food options. With the help of different color gradients you can find the food that fits your expectations best.
Reflect on your choices
Find out whether your purchase meets or opposes your values. This reflection will feed back into your next shopping trip: Will you change your food choices? Or your criteria?
These three key moments manifest themselves in several physical and digital touch points: The Value Kiosk to create your food profile initialises the experience, the profile is saved onto the Membership Card to reveal your matching food on the Food Labels. Your purchase is evaluated by your Receipt, and you can get a holistic overview and maintain your profile on the Online Platform.
The interactive kiosk at the entrance of the store is the starting point of the GOOD FOOD experience. You create your ideal food profile based on 7 values around food and food production. Since those values affect each other in one way or another, the entire shape changes in real time. The user realises: You can't have it all.
The membership card builds the bridge between your profile and the food and enables the interaction with the food labels. Three different color gradients indicate the level of match with the food.
The digital price tags that do not only show necessary information known from conventional food labels, but also their own food profile. The synchronisation with the digital price tags allows for a visual comparison between your own values and the actual values of the food: Your profile appears as an outline. For a quick evaluation, the shape indicates how well and which values of both profiles matched or mismatched, in addition three different color gradients rate the match.
On the receipt, all purchased food products and your food profile are evaluated and rated. You are able to see whether your purchases have matched or opposed your initial values.
The GOOD FOOD experience doesn‘t end in the store: As a reflection on your purchase, you can call for a holistic checkout online – all purchased products with comparison and rating, and additional information.
Manage your profile
Are you still happy with your set values?Edit your profile and review how your profile has changed over time
Evaluate your purchase
See all purchased products and ratings online find out why or why not your values matched with the product by calling for information about each value
Shop by your values
Find out which products of the store suit your own values the most
FOOD TODAY – EXPLORING GENETIC ENGINEERING
The project is triggered by the introduction of genetically modified (GM) food to the food market in several countries such as the U.S. To understand the current advances in GM, I interviewed and observed people that work in the field day by day. On a field research trip to the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology I learned about about the methods, but especially about the chances they see in this technology but at the same time its limitations due to people’s acceptance of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
Growing modified bacteria
Modified bacteria for vaccines injected into plants
An ideation workshop was held at UID with 11 students. I was interested in generating ideas around how we could raise awareness and give an understanding of GM food, and how something could be designed to motivate or provoke people to learn about GM food.
Exercise #1 – Ideation workshop with individual ideation, group session and final pitch
This helped me identify six focus areas, which were explored by another ideation exercise with fellow students: a remote ideation. Therefore 16 sets of ideation cards were created to explore the identified areas such as GM democracy, food 2.0, GM talk or social experience.
Exercise #2 – Remote "Ideation for all" cards up on a public wall at UID for 4 days
THE GM-OH! STORE
The creative process was carried out by three explorations. The first exploration is a GM food concept store, a store that is built around the concept of GM food. The museum-esque store offers a curated shopping experience in which people are enabled to explore this new food type in the familiar context of grocery shopping. Through metaphors different food products unlock information around GM food.
Spices that represent genetic modifications
"Grow your own" – GM experience
Group evaluation with fellow students after two iterations
This exercise was meant to help me understand and discuss with users, how they make their food decisions: What content of information, what format and which importance different information had for people when it came to the moment of deciding whether to pick product A or B. I therefore set up a mini store with only 4 products. Each product was represented twice, once claimed as genetically modified food and once as conventionally produced food. Each product had a price tag with reasons for and against a certain production method, a piechart that represented the food‘s harm on the environment, consumer rating and price.
User compares the products by information on price tag
A third iteration on my products focused on how customers could be engaged with and triggered to consume information, something that was missing in the first two iterations.
What's the environmental, social, ... price?
No food without its information
This project was carried out with both individual as well as collaborative exercises, in the form of a field research trip, an ideation workshop, user testing sessions, online-surveys, ideation cards. This challenged me to not only be designer but also mediator and facilitator, from listening to triggering the others. In all stages of the project continuous feedback sessions with fellow students and tutors helped me have a critical view on and push the project. In these 20 weeks I got the chance to use various methods I have learned during studies and work experiences.
I came to realise how important a well-defined framework or project brief was. The fuzzier the chosen topic, the more time was spent on defining and refinement or iterations. A clear framework helps you plan, overview potential challenges and communicate with others.