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The apple sorting site: A case of design of living things

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This article describes the apple as a designed product, while the process of sorting apples is viewed as design: In this process, an unclear mix of apples is turned into categories of neatly describable homogeneous apples. The course of action of apple sorting in an automated site is described, where digital datasets of images of the fruit are analysed automatically and serve as the basis for categorizing the fruit into sorting groups. The aim is to determine the underlying values that shape the process of apple sorting, comparing the requirements of the EU marketing standards to the more differentiated and demanding sorting groups observable in practice. Sorting as a control step becomes necessary to assign the contingent fruit taken from the plant into precisely specified categories. The analysis of the visual appearance of the fruit leads to conclusions about their quality and economic value. Here, apple sorting is viewed as a case of the design of living things in order to investigate the values that guide human intervention in living organisms. Additionally, apple sorting is also a case of Food Design that shows how even the most ‘natural’ food products are designed.
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Keywords: apple sorting; biofacts; design of living things; fruit and vegetables; markets; standardization

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Technische Universitaet Muenchen

Publication date: April 1, 2018

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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