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Differentiating consumption contexts as a basis for diversity in food design education: Eating in or eating out?

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Designers can play a significant role in providing the world population with food that is produced in a sustainable way, is tasty and healthy and can form the centrepiece in culinary experiences. However, design students will need to acquire more knowledge specific for the food domain if they want to qualify as cooperation partners for other food professionals. In addition, because the food domain is vast and diverse, food design education could focus on various application domains, resulting in design students with different profiles.

In this article, I make a distinction between designing for a person who consumes food at home or is eating out. The first case emphasizes the food itself in the home situation, including food production, packaging, food buying, shelf life, preparation, serving, handling leftovers and waste disposal. In the second case, the consumer’s meal experience depends on the atmosphere in the restaurant, interactions with serving staff, the offerings on the menu and quality of the dish. In addition, several processes take place outside the consumer’s view, such as food preparation, storage, personnel management and business administration.

Based on these topics and comparison with adjoining educational curricula, a list of training topics is derived. For all food designers, this consists of general design capabilities, food science, cooking skills, consumer insights and sustainability issues. In addition, the ‘eating at home’ designer should gather knowledge on agricultural production, food technology and food industry business, whereas the ‘eating out’ designer will need to focus mainly on food product knowledge, culinary technology, equipment engineering, restaurant design, consumer dining behaviour and hospitality business.
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Keywords: context; culinary; curriculum; design skills; education; food design; food industry; food service

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Industrial Design

Publication date: April 1, 2017

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Food Design (IJFD) is the first academic journal entirely dedicated to Food Design research and practice. We aim at creating a platform for researchers operating in the various disciplines that contribute to the understanding of Food Design.

    Although the journal is open towards different background disciplines, knowledge and expertise, it only focuses on collecting any Food Design-related research outcome: research that somehow combines food and Design. We define Food Design as simply the discipline that connects food and Design: Design applied to food and eating, or food and eating investigated from a Design perspective. In other words, among all knowledge on food and eating, we look at research where Design has an important role, and among all knowledge on Design, we look at research that focuses on aspects of food or eating.

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