DESIGN CONTRIBUTION TO CONSUMERS KNOWLEDGE REGARDING HEALTHIER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE NUTRITIONAL CHOICES AT THE GROCERY STORE
Editor: Grierson, Hilary; Bohemia, Erik; Buck, Lyndon
Author: Juodziukynaite, Egle
Institution: Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway
Section: Engaging the Public
DOI number: 10.35199/EPDE.2021.42
Past technological and societal changes have affected the way food is promoted, sold and consumed. The number of products has been significantly increased and at the same time – the amount of information on the packaging. In a grocery store, consumers are being met by many accreditation labels. However, these do not contribute to healthier or environmentally friendly choices of nutrition. According to Poor and Nemecek, food accounts for over a quarter (26%) of global greenhouse gas emissions . This indicates that something has to be done to help people to make both healthy and sustainable choices. This study analyses the product design field and how education can contribute to consumers’ choice of healthy and sustainable nutrition in the grocery store. Product design education has for a long time had the tradition of the fine and applied arts as its model . However, cross-disciplinary research, technological development and critical thinking in the field of design are creating new opportunities for the new generation of product designers . These new product designers can be used in new kinds of projects. They are educated for a set of skills to be able to analyse complex systems, use a holistic design thinking methodology and user-centred approach. When it comes to healthy and sustainable nutrition, one case study shows that by involving product designers into their work, nutritionists might come to solutions that are more appealing to consumers and find creative ways to engage healthy and environmentally friendly food consumption. Qualitative research methods such as observations, literature review and semi-structured interviews with an expert have in this study been used to collect data to gain new insights. The literature review laid the theoretical foundation for three case studies. By analysing these, three possible concepts have been identified, which were (1) dynamic food labels, (2) traffic light labels and (3) visual clues. In the crossing point of these concepts is the product design expertise, which can be used when implementing these solutions as well as making new solutions based on findings from these case studies. A concept mapping method has finally been used to visualize this new type of framework that is meant to be used to strengthen cross-disciplinary communication between product designers and nutritionists. Findings from this study show lack of cross-disciplinary collaboration between nutritionists and product designers. This study has focused mostly on understanding the problem area and revealing product design opportunities in the field. Product designers could for instance contribute to improving focus on food and nutrition literacy in the educational system with the help of the expertise of nutritionists. REFERENCES  Poore J. and Nemecek T. Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers. Science, 2018, 360(6392), 987-92.  Muratovski G. Research for Designers: A Guide to Methods and Practice. 2016 (Sage, London).