Food Design Thinking

20 September 2017 to 23 September 2017

Borough Market | 8 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1T

As part of London Design Week, from 20–23 September, visitors to London’s Borough Market will be invited to discover, try and test the latest in food design thinking. Researchers from the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London have partnered with Borough Market, home to like-minded producers and inspiring makers , knowledgeable food experts and importers, within the world famous stalls of Borough Market to stage a series of interactive design interventions.

From tracking your culinary knife prowess, to a new invention that makes cooking with tofu appealing to Westerners, visitors will be guided by specially designed map handouts that outline a treasure trail of ‘food design thinking’ throughout 12 stalls at London’s historic food market.

Highlights include:
Ting-Yu Liu’s Tofu Press and tasting demonstrations will reveal how the tastiest way to eat tofu is to press the water out of the bean curd before cooking. This is one of the most popular ways to cook with tofu in China, although is relatively unknown in the West and could transform Western perception of this currently under-valued, yet highly sustainable form of protein. Another project with sustainability at its core is Seagrass Packaging – food packaging made from seagrass fiber which has antibacterial properties and is biodegradable, so it could reduce foodwaste as well as plastic packaging waste.

Visitors will be able to measure kitchen skills in a tangible way using ‘internet of things’ devices as part of a project – led by the RCA and Nottingham University – that explores our relationships between cooking behaviors and new forms of cooking information. For example, data from a knife with an embedded accelerometer that tracks cutting and chopping will be processed to produce an exciting and informative info-graphic to keep.

Parents and children are invited to join in the trail and take part in the activities. Highlights for children and families include Nico Cooks and Tastes – a toolkit that helps children to develop adventurous and healthy eating habits by integrating storytelling and hands-on activities, Cozy Cutlery also promotes healthy eating for children by using tactile cutlery that helps them to slow down their eating speeds. 

Working with a coffee seller, A Celebration of Coffee Rituals will consider how many of the daily rituals that make our lives meaningful revolve around food and drink, whether bringing people together, to relax, or to signal the start of a new day. With this in mind, participants will be invited to reflect on their own coffee rituals that involve coffee and design new ones.

Food Design Thinking is the latest output from a vast network of researchers, students, designers and industry partners, led by the RCA and Imperial College London, with a shared interest in applying design thinking, scientific and engineering expertise to the complete food supply and consumption cycle.