Fisker, Anna Marie4; Hermanssdottir, Sunna5; Rasmussen, Mai4
1 Center for Food Science, Design and Experience, The Faculty of Engineering and Science, Aalborg University, VBN2 Division of Food + Design, The Faculty of Engineering and Science, Aalborg University, VBN3 Department of Civil Engineering, The Faculty of Engineering and Science, Aalborg University, VBN4 The Faculty of Engineering and Science, Aalborg University, VBN5 Department of Architecture & Design, The Faculty of Engineering and Science, Aalborg University, VBN
Meals in day-care centers have for many children a crucial influence on the total experience of the stay. Research already suggests, that the meal situation should not be delimited to the nutritional meaning only, but has to be seen in a broad holistic perspective (Rasmussen and Smidt, 2001). In our research, regarding children’s eating habits and food preferences, we collaborated interdisciplinary, working holistically, involving appropriate disciplines, where knowledge from different fields was involved. The importance of working interdisciplinary in food innovation can be seen in the increasing interdisciplinary collaboration in leading agents of change within gastronomy and kitchen furniture among others. Here appurtenant stakeholders as designers, engineers, behavioral and food specialists collaborate in order to cover broad research, insights and expertise field, with the intention not to miss out any relevant angles and opportunities regarding the task to be solved (Fisker et al., 2011). This leads to the purpose of this study, which is to explore if and how interdisciplinary approach involving the disciplines of food, design, engineering, architecture and pedagogy can create solutions, that affect children’s eating habits and food preferences. In order to make evidence in the field, an interdisciplinary team consisting of food specialists, designers, engineers, architects and pedagogues, created a carrot pavilion and appurtenant carrot activities. The aim was to influence the children to create a positive and strong relationship to the carrot, and therefore the activities were all based on sensory and playfulness, as results show, that sensory education has positive effect on children’s food preferences (Reverdy et al, 2010) and positive reinforcement retrains the brain to learn new patterns of behaviour (Koster, 2004). There were both action based and tranquil activities in order to reach the broad group of children. An example of an action-based activity was to throw carrot-bites into the mouth of a carrot character and an example of a tranquil activity was to personalize the carrot by drawing face and clothes on it. To strengthen the case and to research if physical architecture affects the children's eating habits and food preferences, we looked into the possibility, if the physical room for the activities had any relation to this effect. A 10 x 10 meter carrot pavilion with “walls” and “ceiling” of 5000 carrots hanging in invisible threads was created, making an architecturally defined space allowing various experiences. We tested if the children interacted with the surroundings, the feedstock. The carrot pavilion and the carrot activities were tested on a group of 25 children at the age of 3-5 years old. The results were positive and underpinning the thesis: integrating feedstock in context and activities can affect children's eating habits and food preferences. Based on the carrot case, the poster will present how the interdisciplinary approach involving food, design, architecture and pedagogy can create solutions that positively affect eating habits and food preferences among children, and furthermore if this aspect can strengthen innovation in the food sector and create valuable solutions related to health benefits among children.