Thanks for the replies, I’m totally into the mystique of these design kitchens, the teams that research sensory trends and experiences, the engaging of the five senses to create a successful food product. I am actively seeking more information on this and appreciate your insight.
Somehow I want to convey the feeling I have that food products (not restaurant dining) have not yet undergone the transformation that occurs when industrial design meets an industry. Somewhere in their respective time lines, it is clear at which point industrial design truly entered the equation, in areas like the manufacturing of sporting goods, medical equipment, hygiene products, kitchen ware,etc. Surely there is a vast amount of design going on behind all products in the supermarket, yet to me it clearly seems conventional, traditional, and catering to the needs of production, not the needs of the consumer. There is a clear gap between American food design, and the design of food products in the European or Asian market, Japan for example.
Examples of food design that might not even touch on the actual recipes and taste, leaving that to a food scientist:
- design of food formats to allow for easier portion control, markings on the food showing serving size, ingredients, etc., daily or hourly scheduling, like an energy bar.
- food snack formats allowing for easier handling of food, re-wrapping, eating on the go, etc. not packaging, but the actual food shape.
- food shapes, textures which express or indulge in form and function, crackers with grooves to hold more spread, or something way better
- food with more of a visual, formal or narrative theme, either metaphorical or literal. where does it come from, how was it made, what does it taste like, who is it made for, etc…
- food to play with, games for children, food to be shared, traded, exchanged, etc… obviously done in a safe, healthy way.
- and then of course, fun, whimsical, or outrageous food design for pleasure/ fun / entertainnment (after all, who can deny eating is to some degree a form of entertainment.)
Currently, I find myself choosing whole ingredients over processed food at the supermarket because I am not attracted to the suggested tastes, the mysterious ingredients, the stories, and more. And, ultimately, as processed food becomes entirely pervasive in a not distant future, it’s design will have to offer more than it currently does. Processed food should inspire our trust in its ingredients, how it was made, how much to eat of it, it should reflect our values or pleasures less generically. Is processed food entirely evil and counter to human nutrition and sustenance, probably not. I see it as an opportunity for design. Branding, marketing, packaging, food design, food production can all converge when viewed through the lens of design.
That being said, aside from the fun in being a bit dramatic, what designer would actually want to recognize a border between product design of consumer goods and the design of consumable products. Food has its own rich design history, pretzels in the shape of prayer, cakes and bread are solid packages designed to be easily portable for peasants in fields. The Sandwich, and so on.
Below are images showing the food design aesthetic being explored in Victorian times.