Design Thinking and Food Innovation

Nina Veflen Olsen


This paper presents a new approach for food innovation—a Design Thinking approach that challenges the strong product orientation that still exists in the food industry. Consumer researchers widely believe that innovation in the food sector can be much more user oriented. Fork to Farm projects try to maximize value creation for the end user, but; unfortunately; many of these projects appeals to an undifferentiated mass market. The food industry needs to understand individual consumers and the context in which they live to be able to deliver successful new food solutions. The aim of this paper is to discuss and exemplify how Design Thinking can contribute to innovation in the food industry.
After introducing the Design Thinking approach and describing an innovation project conducted within the seafood industry in Norway, four specific aspects of Design Thinking: a) Begin at the beginning, b) Take a human-centered approach, c) Try early and often, and d) Seek outside help, are discussed in more detail. I conclude that Design Thinking is a faster and cheaper way to include the voice of the consumer into the process —a learning approach that needs to be further discussed, improved and tested out within the food domain.

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ISSN 2194-511X


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