Accepted abstract - Creative Tastebuds Symposium 2020

Playful Design and children’s (dis)liking of plant-based vegetable food product

Research paper

By SunMin Hwang

Plant-based food and drink products are becoming more and more popular in the U.S. with increased awareness for health benefits as well as for its positive environmental impact. Advances in research, technology and market strategies have collectively made plant-based eating trends emerge in various sectors of the food system. Yet, lack of effort in marketing plant-based products to children make it harder for children to make healthier food choices, often having to compete with non-nutritious food products that are effectively utilizing child-oriented design in the marketplace. Considering that childhood food habits commonly last into adulthood, it is imperative that the healthier plant-based food products, such as fresh vegetables, utilize appropriate design interventions to bring about positive changes in the children’s choice of food.

This article examines the impact of playful design on a child’s liking and selection of a few vegetables, familiar or otherwise. Playful vegetable product ideas were co-designed with local chefs and students and selected to be prototyped based on the following criteria: tastefulness, disguising factor, single vegetable composition, and the ease of portability.

 

The novel vegetable products were given to a group of children to be recorded for their choices as well as for the amount consumed. The findings of the study illustrate the need for further exploration as designers on ways to promote children’s preference for wholesome food choices.