The Design Methods in Food professorship is the driving force behind the ZERO Food Waste Challenge with an aim to increase awareness among students in higher education, throughout the Netherlands, about the amount of food needlessly wasted in schools, institutions, and in the food industry. The live kick-off of this years edition took place on September 12, 2023 at 6:45 PM.
Design Methods in Food professorship
The Food Design Methods professorship conducts research into design methods that can be used in further education, and which result in new designs for healthy and sustainable food choice behaviour. These are things like food products, packaging and communications, but also entirely new food environments and food systems.
About the professorship
The Design Methods in Food professorship conducts research into a variety of methods to investigate and support healthy and sustainable food choice behaviour in the food environment. This includes systemic analysis and design methods.
In the first phase of the professorship (2018-2022), we found that design methods were effective. This was thanks to the emphasis on people's needs and the iterative nature of the design phase, which meant that an appropriate and usable food concept or design was ultimately produced. In addition, design methods work well if they provide inspiration, are clear and if they are easy for the user to apply.
As food designers, one of the aspects of temptation we have far less control over is human behaviour. Temptation and specific support for healthy and sustainable food choices are increasing in social importance. For the second phase (2022-2026), we will conduct research into methods for investigating and supporting healthy and sustainable food choice behaviour in a food environment. Systemic analysis and design methods will also be used to this end.
The research topics included in this professorship are:
- research into existing behavioural analysis and design methods, and best practices in behavioural research and successful interventions
- applied case studies of healthy and sustainable food (‘good food’) and food environments, with a focus on attracting and supporting healthy and sustainable food choice behaviour
- setting up a 'conshuman behaviour lab' in which consumers, students, the business community and researchers work together on our research into good food.
The professor takes the lead in all research lines, knowledge circle members are substantively involved in one or more research lines.
The professorship focuses on providing an Innovation Toolbox which contains the most important methods (or tools) to design and develop an innovative concept. To provide an overview, the tools in the toolbox are arranged according to the various tool types. We have deliberately avoided linking to any model or roadmap (such as Design Thinking, the Food innovation model or Innovation Tunnel), to offer more choice and freedom for students and lecturers.
For healthy and sustainable food, it is important to create a level playing field when competing with products that are tempting in their very nature (such as creamy, fatty, crunchy and/or sweet products, but also cheap carbohydrate-rich products that fill you up).
A Seduction Toolbox sets out the most important methods and aspects with which a food concept can be designed, developed and marketed in the most attractive way possible. Regardless of how healthy or sustainable a food concept is, if it is not enticing enough, it will not be popular, and the innovation will become one of the 9 out of 10 that are unsuccessful.