Senior Design Project ｜ 4 Months ｜ 2021
A discursive design object/set of four experimental utensils that encourages children to enjoy the process of trying new foods
Many children, like my picky little sister, are reluctant to try new foods and tastes. This observation inspired me to design novel eating experiences that raise food curiosity for children between the age of four and seven. The purpose of the project is to redefine utensils, making them experimental, sensorial, and even educational. Taste is influenced not only by the taste buds but by the perception of taste through color, texture, shape, and form of utensils. Inspired by this knowledge, I developed a set of four utensils that are purposely designed to influence the sensory experience of eating by changing the perception of taste. My project is not meant to present a commercial design solution but serves as a discursive design object for people to rethink, reimagine, and raise discussion about the experience of eating. Each of the four designs has been created to simulate different senses through unique visual elements and represent the four basic tastes - sour, sweet, bitter, and spicy. These experimental utensils encourage children to enjoy the process of trying new foods by using unfamiliar objects and provides an opportunity for children to learn how different factors would influence their sensory experiences.
Interviews & Analysis
Design for Children's Eating
Children between the ages of 4 to 7 are reluctant to try new foods and tastes. It is crucial to learn and accept new foods.
Secondary Research About Eating and Senses
Our taste and flavor experience is determined by the expectations we generate prior to tasting. The shape, smell, color, packaging, and even the setting in which it is eaten affect the way we taste.
C. Spence, B. Piqueras-Fiszman, AV. Cardello, FM. Clydesdale, JF. Delwiche, RL. Hall, JL. Kanig, FM. Clydesdale AS. Kostyla, et al. “On the Psychological Impact of Food Colour.” Flavour. BioMed Central, January 1, 1970.
Current Children's Utensils
Children’s eating utensils are either designed with a cute or funny look or adding a cute handle. There are only a few products that add a little bit of texture onto the surface of the tools. So there is an opportunity to expand this space by creating utensils that are not only visually interesting, but also sensorially interesting.
Design a set of utensils and a novel eating and sensory experiences that raise food curiosity for children between the age of 4 and 7.
Annotated Bibliography for Project Research
Create designs that simulate different senses through unique visual elements and represent the four basic tastes - sour, sweet, bitter, and spicy.
To learn more about children's understanding of tastes and colors, 5 children were interviewed. The interview asked children to pair up colors, tastes, and textures. In addition, the interview also asked children to draw out their favorite eating tools in their imagination. The interview results were analyzed and helped inform design decisions.