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Greet and eat

A multi-use dish exemplifies a human-centred approach to food product and service design.

Supermarkets sell a range of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), on-selling pre-packaged food, selling food that is pre-packaged by supermarket staff, and selling food that is selected by the customer and packaged for them on the spot. Each raises questions about design, for the product, its packaging and presentation to attract customers. But customer values also matter, for example the desire to minimise adverse environmental impact. 

After many years experience in the supermarket industry, Jonathan Willows decided to explore these issues in a Master of Design Enterprise. He focussed on the sale of seafood over the counter at a supermarket. The seafood counter adds value for shoppers not just because it gives them choice but also because of the social exchange; someone greets them and seeks to understand what they want, and can give advice about what product best suits for the customer's needs. Jonathan designed a new reusable tray, which customers could use not just to take their fish home but also to cook their fish after adding additional ingredients. The dish can be cleaned and taken back to the supermarket for their next purchase.

The development of new products and the purchasing decisions made by supermarkets have traditionally both been focussed on what will sell. Jonathan identified an opportunity to apply human-centred design principles, taking into account how consumers will use the product and their values. From his seafood counter example Jonathan developed a new design framework to help achieve this for product development in Fast Moving Consumer Goods. Jonathan applies his human-centred design framework and process to the FMCG industry, and has recently trademarked "HCD_FMCG".

March 2021

Image credit: Nick Karvounis, sourced from Unsplash