What do we eat?
Deceptions in food packaging design
05JUNE-END OF SUMMER 2019 (EXTENDED)
TU Delft Library
This exhibition was designed by TU Delft Honours Student Charlotte de Wit. For her project she joined the Food and eating design lab at the ID Faculty and cooperated with the TU Delft library. It is the Library’s ambition to connect and enrich both research and education at TU Delft, beyond their core goal of sharing knowledge and inspiration. Finding collaborations with students to showcase research to a broader audience is one of the ways the library is establishing this.
Food & Eating Design
The Food & Eating Design Lab of the TUD- ID faculty brings together designers and researchers with stakeholders in agriculture, the food industry, the hospitality sector, health professionals and any others who try to improve people’s interactions with their daily foods. Their aim is to provide design solutions that promote people’s health and subjective wellbeing, while at the same time keeping an eye on the profitability for commercial parties involved, the designs’ impact on the physical environment and on processes in society at large. Charlotte de Wit joined the Food and eating design lab, led by her Honours project supervisor Rick Schifferstijn.
Do you know what you are actually eating? Are you being deceived? There are many ways in which food producers make products look more attractive through their package design. Tricks are used to make a product look more healthy or suggest a higher percentage of expensive ingredients. The deceptions in food packaging design can have a bad influence on our diet, since healthy choices are hard to make when we don’t know what we consume. But what if we can use the same tricks to seduce people to buy more healthy and more sustainable food options?
A shift in mentality is needed to change the western diet to be more healthy, more sustainable, more animal-friendly, and so on. But this is a very slow process. However, some of the existing tricks can be used to change consumer behaviour in a desirable direction, without them even realizing. For instance, we could design a package that suggests a high percentage of meat, while there is actually only 10 percent of meat in the product. In this way, people who are not willing to change their diet to become more healthy and help the environment, can be tricked into eating less meat. Eating a product with low meat contents during an entire week, would then be the equivalent of eating just one regular portion of meat a week!
What do you think?
Is it ethical to trick people into eating less animal products by making a deceiving packaging design? Leave your opinion at the exhibition!
Charlotte de Wit has been working with food, design and art her entire life. As a child she already found a passion in creating elaborate food decorations on cakes and this passion deepened when she started researching food health and perceptions, even before she ended high school. She wrote a booklet on food presentation techniques, created multiple food experience concepts and now she is publishing her own wholefood recipes. Her interest for art drives her to create thought provoking works, experimenting with new materials.
After finishing her bachelor Mechanical Engineering Cum Laude at TU Delft, she started the master Integrated product Design. She soon joined the Food and eating design lab, led by her Honours project supervisor Rick Schifferstijn. Charlotte followed electives at Wageningen University and VU Amsterdam to complement her knowledge on design and engineering with food nutrition and marketing. Her master thesis is about finding a more sustainable alternative for convenience food packaging design.
Deceiving supermarket consumers to do good
Studium Generale lunchlecture by Charlotte de Wit
Location: Blue Room, TU Delft Library
Nowadays, we are used to consuming whatever we want, whenever we want. Unfortunately this lifestyle has devastating consequences for the environment as well as our own health. This is very clearly seen in our diets. The most common western diet is an energy heavy, polluting, unhealthy one, that needs to change to be more healthy, more sustainable, more animal-friendly, and so on.
A shift in mentality is needed to change the western population’s behaviour. But changing people’s mentality is a very slow process. Is it even possible to change fast enough?
But there are other ways to change, without the need of a changed mentality. People can be tricked into good behaviour.
Today, people are tricked in many ways to buy processed products that are profitable and have a bad influence on their health. What if we used the same tricks the other way around? What if we deceived people into buying sustainable food options that nurture their bodies? Could that be a solution? We would be tricking people into good behaviour without them having to take their own responsibility. But if we go down that path, how far can we go?
Because an important question is then to what degree people have a personal responsibility to care for their own bodies as well as the environment. And if we want to make a shortcut to change people’s behaviour faster than their mindset, who is deciding on what behaviour is desirable?
About Charlotte de Wit and packaging design
Charlotte de Wit is –in cooperation with TU Delft Library- the designer of the exhibition: What do we eat? Deceptions in food packaging design which can be visited in the TU library from June 6th till July 8th. It aims to demonstrate how consumers are tricked by the food industry to buy products. Charlotte used the same tricks to design a package that makes people consume less environmentally bad meat. Charlotte de Wit is an (honour)student of the ID faculty. She has been working with food, design and art her entire life. After finishing her bachelor Mechanical Engineering Cum Laude at the TU Delft, she started the master Integrated product Design. She soon joined the Food and eating design lab.
Recording lunch lecture
Content & Art direction: Charlotte de Wit
Composition & Production: Charlotte de Wit
Models: Naomi Atmopawiro , Lennart van Gameren, Charlotte de Wit
Video Editing: Lennart van Gameren
Camera: Eunice Cheung, Joseph van der Marck
Program Manager: TU Library: Marion Vredeling
Honours Programme Supervisor: Rick Schifferstijn
Special Thanks: Coop Wippolder for borrowing shopping carts
More about this exhibition
Call for showcasing more student projects at the LibraryThis exhibition and lecture by IDE student Charlotte de Wit is a fantastic example of the many projects that the library aspires to organize with our student community. Our aim is to open up a stage for students with an interesting message or view to share. It could be the topic of your thesis, like this one by Charlotte, but there are no limitations.
Mail Marion Vredeling (firstname.lastname@example.org)