"Ingredients in their pure form don’t need to come from around the world," writes the research team at Gravity, a innovation and design consultancy interested in food culture. So Not is their idea for a line of local food products.

Inspired by the team’s time with freegans, Still Good is their idea for retrofitting dumpsters with a pocket for foods that are still entirely edible. "How often do you throw food away?," they ask. "When you were too hungry at the supermarket or had to leave town on short notice? Pass on food before it starts smelling in your fridge."

Another concept from the group’s Food Thinking project, Hol(e)y Plate, lets diners season their own dishes. "Pick a leaf straight from your plate and enjoy your herbs as fresh as they can get."

Convenience 2.0, a concept for a full ingredient delivery service: "Imagine being able to order the ingredients for this fantastic dish you found on your favorite food blog. Perfect portions delivered to your door the same day."

Pomme de Terre--a riff on Hermes’ classic scents--suggests extending a luxury brand to the table. "Fashion goes food," writes Gravity. "Hand-picked, selected from one of a hundred, we bring the best ingredients to your table."

Happy Meat imagines a company that lets consumers "adopt" and pay for the animal they will later eat. "Feed me, then eat me," reads the copy.

6 Kooky Concepts For Foodies Of The Future

Innovation consultancy Gravity interviewed foodies all over Europe in an attempt to discover what’s driving the renaissance in food culture.

Foodie culture today seems loved and scorned in equal parts. Why? Feinschmeckers and gourmands have existed forever, yet food is suddenly a topic in culture at large. "Food has moved from physical necessity to the epicenter of constant attention through media, public opinion, and status," write the researchers behind Food Thinking, a study of emerging food culture in European countries. "Suddenly, everything is about food!"

Intent on discovering what’s driving the renaissance, a team from the German design and innovation consultancy Gravity spent the past few months traveling from country to country, interviewing chefs and shoppers about their eating habits. They dumpster dove with freegans, visited the lab at a molecular gastronomy pilgrimage site elBulli, and talked with emerging chefs in Spain and the U.K. Food Thinking lays out their findings across 18 interviews, 127 ideas, and six theoretical "concepts" that imagine how our "social obsession" with food will articulate itself in advertising next.

The Gravity team threw themselves down the rabbit hole, pushing the prevalent trends in food culture to absurdist extremes. The six concepts "reflect what we saw during our research and give an indication [of] what food can look like in the future," they explain. It’s hard not to be cynical about the gimmicks that grab our attention as consumers. Some of the best—Hermès potatoes!—would be right at home in a gallery, functioning as critiques of consumer culture. Others are more thoughtful, like a netting that attaches to the cover of a dumpster, intended to hold "still good" foods above the mass of trash below it.

The basic insight? "Food is no longer about physical, emotional, or even social needs. It revolves around self-expression and status." Like any other mode of self-expression, it holds a mirror up to culture at large. Whether that means buying potatoes that correspond to your net worth on the free market, or getting to know the cow you plan to eat in a few months a little better, well, that’s on you.

Check out the six concepts in the slide show above, or head over to Food Thinking for more.

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2 Comments

  • Caesar F Armenta

    Eh.... although I echo the idea that people are buying things that reflect (or inflate) their status, I'm not convinced that these buying habits extend to the food people buy at a store.... at least in terms of items used to prepare a dish for later that night.  I think the former comment regarding food purchases based on status applies to things like cheese, wine, liquor and other specialty items, but Potatoes from Herme's? seriously? not a chance.

    Real Foodies are all about finding fun and unique items, or gems so to speak.  Fun and unique does not and more than likely will never mean something expensive.

    Other than that, interesting article!

  • Dawn

    Agree that design has a powerful role in promoting positive food culture. We recently wrote about it on the Artefact blog: http://www.artefactgroup.com/#....

    Let's steer away from designs that promote "food as status" though. Food is the ultimate empathetic medium - allowing us to see things from other points of view. Limiting that would be short-sighted, at best.