What design can bring to the food industry

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Even though designers are specifically trained to create and build new products, their contribution to innovation in the food industry is relatively small. The industry seems unfamiliar with the ways in which designers operate and may be unaware of the added value they may provide. Therefore, this article identifies the potential roles that designers could fulfil within large food companies. The development of new consumer products requires knowledge of target consumers, production technology and the business environment. These three types of expertise are often concentrated in different departments. Although highly experienced product experts such
as culinary chefs may be able to integrate this knowledge, involving designers may be a more fruitful strategy. First of all, designers tend to approach design challenges holistically, which broadens the scope of the project. As a consequence, designers will provide more innovative solutions, which can guide multiple project aspects simultaneously (production, packaging, marketing). Second, designers shape their own tools, which will engage the others involved. Third, designers are equipped to manage the product development process and can facilitate cooperation between the disciplinary
experts. Fourth, designers can play a role in bringing together and integrating the knowledge from the different disciplines. By strengthening these roles, large food companies can deliver innovations that address actual consumer needs, provide a positive contribution to society and consolidate long-term profitability and growth. For designers, foods represent interesting prototyping materials, which are firmly rooted in daily, cultural practices and can be enjoyed through all the senses. Their regional, seasonal and perishable character challenges designers to connect consumers with agriculture, trading and processing methods.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-134
Number of pages32
JournalInternational Journal of Food Design
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • innovation
  • food industry
  • designer
  • chef
  • holistic approach
  • tools
  • facilitation
  • sustainability
  • OA-Fund TU Delft


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