Exploring co-creation with agri-food smallholders in Vietnam

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The food system in Vietnam is changing whilst the middle class is growing. Agrifood smallholders have the strengths of responding to the changing needs of the middle class by offering freshness, proximity and convenience but they also face increasing competition from larger and international firms. At the same time, issues with food safety are prevalent and a rising concern among consumers. For this study we completed sixteen co-creation workshops between local agri-food smallholders and consumers. The goal of these workshops was to explore the value of participatory processes, non-hierarchical decision making and creativity for smallholder firms in Vietnam through co-creation workshops focused on sustainability. The outcomes show that the workshops can stimulate customer understanding and participatory processes among the smallholder businesses, but creativity in the form of novel ideas less so. The workshops did not result in directly feasible or manageable product and service concepts. The topic of sustainable food opened a dialogue: insights between the firms and customers on this topic were mutually rich. The outcomes suggest that co-creation workshops can create a sense of community and urgency for sustainability. In the future, the challenge for smallholders is to invest in participatory processes with a long-term view on sustainability as well as come to practical design outcomes on the short term
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-173
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Food Design
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • participatory design
  • urban middle class
  • food
  • sustainable consumption
  • co-design
  • transitions
  • local knowledge


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