Balancing food values: Making sustainable choices in cooking practices

Annelise de Jong, Lenneke Kuijer, Thomas Rydell


Within user-centred design and topics such as persuasive design, pleasurable products, and design for sustainable behaviour, there is a danger of over-determining, pacifying or reducing people’s diversity. Taking the case of sustainable food, we have looked into the social aspects of cooking at home, in specific related to the type of food that is purchased. This paper describes what it means for people to make more sustainable choices in food shopping and how that can be mediated while taking different ‘food values’ that household members have into account. In a design experiment, we developed a service for selecting daily dinner meals while supporting choices of sustainable food which reported on environmental impact, health and nutrition values, and purchase data. Through visualizations of alternative food choices, the experiment provided a space for households to negotiate food values, while opening up possibilities for changing cooking practices.

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