Reducing food waste should be fun

In the exhibition Designing out food waste, students from the LiU international master’s programme in design presented fifteen ideas that can reduce food waste. They exhibited their work at “Elsas hus” in Linköping.

Malin MüllerMalin Müller with her game Morot (carrot). Photo credit: Charlotte PerhammarA kitchen that nudges you in the right direction, a fun game for the whole family, plates and bowls that increase enjoyment, a refrigerator for which service and food deliveries are included in the price, a new material manufactured from the residue from brewing beer, and an attractive book that presents a collection of clever housewives’ hints. These are some of the fifteen solutions to reduce food waste that students from the master’s programme in design presented.

One third of all food produced is wasted. If we are to succeed in feeding the Earth’s population without a major impact on the environment, innovative solutions are required in all areas: from producers, the food industry, in restaurants, in grocery stores, and – not least – in our daily life. This was the starting point for students’ projects during the autumn, and they were given the opportunity to choose for themselves which part of the chain to work with.

“They have truly accepted the challenge of reducing food waste with the aid of design, and encouraging us to change behaviour. I am proud over the results of their work,” says Renee Wever, professor of industrial design, at the opening of the exhibition of their work at Elsas hus in Linköping.

Co creation

The project work also included an investigation of what the requirements really are, and the problems that must be solved.

Malin Müller chose to interview children in her hometown of Kiruna.
Push mePush me Photo credit: Charlotte Perhammar“The children took a photograph of their plates when they had finished eating. If they hadn’t eaten up, they had to explain why. They thought it was great fun. One boy thought that if the food looked like a cake, he would always eat it all up, while his sister wanted a plate with three sections to prevent the gravy getting mixed up with the other food. Children often come up with great ideas, so I decided to design a game in which children and parents work together,” she tells us.

She named the game Morot – playing with food for a brighter future, and has created a carrot to hang on the wall with small blue light-emitting diodes around it. The family then carries out various tasks together in an app to reduce food waste: one task may be to draw up a menu for the week, while another is to make dinner from left-overs.

“When a task has been completed, a number of LEDs is lit depending on how difficult it was. The goal is to light up the complete carrot in a week. The game starts from scratch every week, so if the family can’t get the carrot fully lit one week, it’s simply a case of trying again the following week,” Malin explains.

Bring back bag

Ola KarlssonOla Karlsson. Photo credit: Charlotte PerhammarOla Karlsson has manufactured a book of housewives’ hints, with a rustic wooden cover and leather spine.

“I wanted to collect all the knowledge about housekeeping that is at risk of disappearing,” he explains.

Hanna Nordenö interviewed several families and observed the food that was left over in these families. This led her to develop the “Bring back bag”.

Bring back bagBring back bag Photo credit: Hanna Nordenö“This is a bag that you can fill with items that are left over, and then take it back to the store. Excess food can be received there and used,” she says.

Meike Remiger designed “Mindful tableware”, plates and bowls of different sizes with irregular shapes. She shows several polystyrene forms around which the clay is moulded.

“If the food is served in attractive bowls with unconventional shapes, it makes you more aware of what you’re eating, reducing the risk that you just shovel it in,” she says.

Modular refrigerator

Gustav Thorslund designed a modular refrigerator in which services areincluded. The refrigerator consists of containers at different temperatures, to ensure that the food remains fresh as long as possible.

Fridge as a serviceGustav Thorslund designed a service. Photo credit: Charlotte Perhammar“You take out a subscription to recipes for the complete week, similar to the ‘Linas matkasse’ service here in Sweden. The food is delivered in boxes that fit directly into the different temperature zones of the fridge. Service of the refrigerator is also part of the concept.”

Each of the twelve master’s students has produced an individual solution, but the exhibition also includes solutions that were developed working in groups.

A new materialA new material Photo credit: Charlotte PerhammarGustav Thorslund has worked with Caspar Reuterswärd, Evan Palangio and Linqi Lyn Cao to develop a completely new material made from the residue from brewing beer, mainly malt.
They expelled moisture from the residue by pressure and mixed it with glue to produce a material that resembles cork. They call it “BSG”, Brewers Spent Grains.

“We have used an environmentally sensitive glue. It seems that approximately 20% is about the right amount to produce a light and strong surface,” Gustav says.

Group work

“The Nudging Kitchen” is located next to their display. This is a kitchen that tells the owner how different types of food are to be handled in order to remain fresh as long as possible. Also close by is Vegideli, a counter intended to be set up in a food store where excess fruit and vegetables are converted to smoothies or preserved by various pickling techniques.

Food waste is just one of the societal challenges that students taking the international master’s course are tackling. New challenges will appear during the spring.

“Design should drive change. This is an important part of our master’s programme in design,” says Stefan Holmlid, professor in design specialising in service design. He is organising the master’s programme, which started in the autumn of 2017, together with Renee Wever and Jonas Löwgren, professor in interaction and information design.


Gustav Thorslund

Gustav Thorslund has worked with Caspar Reuterswärd, Evan Palangio and Linqi Lyn Cao to develop a completely new material made from the residue from brewing beer. Charlotte Perhammar

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