The Future of Cooking

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The way we cook, eat, buy and store our food is undergoing radical change. Emerging technologies, from the Internet of Things to augmented reality, present us with endless possibilities to improve the way we produce and cook our food. But without good design, these will only ever be possibilities. To bring this technology into the home’s – and the hands – of everyday people, it has to be tailored into people-centred products and services. In the following pages, we’ve gathered key change drivers, opportunity spaces, and some initial ideas for future concepts. Enjoy!
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  • 1. Reimagining our relationship with food. of cooking The future
  • 2. The future of cooking hello@designit.com
  • 3. 5 The way we cook, eat, buy and store our food is undergoing radical change. Emerging technologies, from the Internet of Things to augmented reality, present us with endless possibilities to improve the way we produce and cook our food. But without good design, these will only ever be possibilities. To bring this technology into the homes – and the hands – of everyday people, it has to be tailored into people-centred products and services. And that’s where Designit comes in.
  • 4. 7 OS 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 03 06 43 44 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 GIY: Grow it yourself Recycling energy Cleaning is boring The new standard Better, not bigger Closing the circle Automated cooking Function is beauty Eating insects Shelve the cookbooks Conclusion Sources General storage Cleaning assistant Energy recycling Designed for all Reimagined cookware Lifecycle of the frying pan Utensils in passive mode Recipe playlist Smart pot Home-grown 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. OPPORTUNITY SPACES IDEA CATALOGUE #I Preface Change drivers
  • 5. FUTURE OF COOKING - CHANGE DRIVERS 8 Energy We urgently need to change the way we consume and manage our energy resources. Traditional resources such as fossil fuels are seriously harming our planet, and are, besides, finite resources. Alternative energy will relieve the pressure to reduce consumption, and offer new opportunities to reduce costs, decentralise energy production, and more. Population explosion By 2050, the world’s population is expected to reach 9.1 billion people and according to the United Nations, food production will need to rise by 70% to meet an increasing demand. People all around the globe will be forced to change what and how they eat. Red meat production will decrease, and insects and algae will be a new big food source, while water is set to become the ‘oil of the future’. Materials Products are, ultimately, resources that should either be used to make new products, or be returned to the biological ecosystem. When we throw out used, worn-out products, not only do we waste the potential to re-use those materials, but in doing so we create further problems, filling up landfills or releasing toxic fumes when burnt. Change drivers These are the key areas that we believe will play a vital role in shaping the future of cooking:
  • 6. 9 Changing eating habits Since the 1980’s the average time spent on cooking in the UK has more than halved, and this is believed to be indicative for global behaviour. Consumers are looking for ways that enable them to live healthy lives despite their busy schedules. However, this is accompanied by an ‘all-in’ cooking behaviour, where entire evenings or even days are devoted to cooking high-quality meals. Urbanisation For the first time in history, more people live in cities than in the countryside. For most city dwellers, small-space living is a necessary reality, and as population – and urbanisation – increases, space will come at an ever increasing premium. Food waste Despite becoming a hot topic in recent years, food waste continues to be a massive challenge on a global scale. We produce an excessive amount of food; the average person throws away 50 kg of food every year. And instead of composting it, to recover some some of the nutrients and energy, it often ends up on the landfill, taking up space and giving off harmful greenhouse gases. Food distribution Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of where their food comes from, and how it is produced. People are demanding more quality, transparency, convenience, and less packaging from their supermarkets. Automation Technology will enable us to automate more processes than ever, with huge advancements in artificial intelligence and machine motor skills. Sensors can connect appliances to the Internet of Things, creating a smarter kitchen, that could learn over time and eventually take over tasks. Rediscovering knowledge With home-cooking in decline, consumers are losing basic cooking skills. This means that we increasingly need guidance and recommendations for both cooking and storing our food. Some consumers are turning back to traditional, low-tech solutions for storing and preserving food. Home-growing As consumers become ever more discerning about food production and distribution, home- growing is an increasingly popular alternative. New approaches to growing, from communal gardens to home hydroponics, will enable more people to grow their own herbs and vegetables, or even algaes and bugs.
  • 7. 11 Opportunity spaces These are gaps that we’ve spotted in existing products and services, representing a want or need. OS
  • 8. FUTURE OF COOKING – OPPORTUNITY SPACES 12 GIY: Grow it yourself How might we make GIY part of people’s diets, homes, and lifestyle? Locally-sourced produce is growing in demand, and the natural progression from this is the most local you can get: home-grown! Mini-gardens at home and communal gardens will enable people to grow their own herbs, algae and vegetables. Long supply chains can be reduced and the average person will be able to discover new ingredients. But GIY won’t only be for those blessed with green fingers. Future growing solutions will need to be practical, realistic and convenient in order to be widely appealing. Several types of home growing systems are marketed to consumers, but which system will become their first choice? BACKGROUND CHALLENGE
  • 9. 13
  • 10. FUTURE OF COOKING – OPPORTUNITY SPACES 14 Recycling energy How might we put waste energy from the kitchen to good use? We use and produce all kinds of energy when we cook, and a lot of this goes to waste. Think of the steam from your kettle, the water running down the drain, even the kinetic energy as you move around the kitchen. All this ‘waste’ energy could be recycled or harvested to power other cooking processes, charge your devices, or even go back to the grid as electricity. With people becoming ever more energy conscious – for both the environmental and economical benefits – there’s an open opportunity to bring alternate energy into regular people’s homes – and hands. BACKGROUND CHALLENGE
  • 11. 15 “One day, your morning cup of coffee could actually be all you need to recharge not only yourself, but your smartphone too.” LULU CHANG ON DIGITALTRENDS.COM, ABOUT SPACE 10 PROJECT “HEAT HARVEST”
  • 12. FUTURE OF COOKING – OPPORTUNITY SPACES 16 How might we integrate cleaning into the cooking process? BACKGROUND CHALLENGE When thinking about how to improve the cooking experience, we tend to overlook the cleaning part. Let’s face it, nobody likes to clean. But this is precisely why improvements in this area would have such a huge impact. And there are plenty of possibilities to make the cleaning process easier; the last big innovation was the dishwasher (and we’re talking nearly a hundred years ago). Instead of a system of cooking first, then cleaning, it could be interesting to integrate cleaning into the cooking process, with a smarter, more dynamic dishwasher, an evolved sink, or another tool. Cleaning is boring
  • 13. 17 “Here’s how many times I saw anything about keeping the kitchen clean in all the future-home videos I’ve watched: Not once.” ROSE EVELETH, PRODUCER, DESIGNER WRITER AND ANIMATOR FROM BROOKLYN PHOTO BY JON FUCHS - WWW.JONFUCHSPHOTOGRAPHY.COM
  • 14. FUTURE OF COOKING – OPPORTUNITY SPACES 18 The new standard How might we create the new standard for commonly used kitchen tools? We all have tools we use everyday. In fact, we pretty much rely on them, but still they’re far from perfect. Messy, fiddly, and – at least in our case – melted. These might be the standard tools, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. Technology can help us make the new standard, by either refining functionality, or extending it. This could be digital, or it could be ‘analogue’ – just as long as it meets a real need, not just added for the novelty. BACKGROUND CHALLENGE
  • 15. 19
  • 16. FUTURE OF COOKING – OPPORTUNITY SPACES 20 How might we improve space efficiency in the kitchen without sacrificing functionality? Better, not bigger Who doesn’t want a bigger kitchen? But with more and more of us congregating to cities – and space at a premium – our kitchens are only getting smaller. But the kitchen of the future doesn’t need to get bigger, it just needs to be more space efficient. There’s a huge opportunity for appliances and equipment that save space, without sacrificing functionality. This could mean products that are easier to store and organise. Or it could mean extending, or bundling, the function of our tools and appliances, so we need less stuff to begin with. BACKGROUND CHALLENGE
  • 17. 21
  • 18. FUTURE OF COOKING – OPPORTUNITY SPACES 22 How might we design products which fit into a circular production eco-system? Closing the circle An intelligent way of handling our resources is essential for the future of our societies and businesses. Besides both environmental and economical benefits, there’s also the plain truth that we simply can’t consume more than the finite supply. Looking forward, we need to go above and beyond recycling. The opportunity here is to move from a linear production system to a circular one, like Cradle to Cradle. It’s based on the principle of an ideal circular economy, where materials are used safely, and potentially infinitely, in cycles. This means that products will made from recycled materials, with parts that are easily removable, replaceable, and of course recyclable. BACKGROUND CHALLENGE
  • 19. 23
  • 20. FUTURE OF COOKING – OPPORTUNITY SPACES 24 Automated cooking How might we support people in their modern lifestyle with the perfect degree of automation? The dream of the autonomous kitchen isn’t new, and we’ve seen our fair share of both futuristic concepts and realised products. Where we really see the opportunity is in finding that sweet spot between manual and autonomous. It’s pretty clear fully autonomous cooking isn’t the optimal solution – in fact restaurants and takeaways already have that covered. Because cooking is, ultimately, an intrinsically personal, human experience. The dream is to relieve humans of the time-consuming, boring bits, so they can concentrate on the personal bits. So while some processes will have a high degree of automation, others will have a low degree of automation. BACKGROUND CHALLENGE
  • 21. 25
  • 22. FUTURE OF COOKING – OPPORTUNITY SPACES 26 How might we take inspiration from ‘extreme users’ to design the best possible product? ‘Form follows function’ is a hollow quote these days. The question is: How would products look if the focus was truly, fully, on functionality? Looking ahead, perhaps functionality alone could be the appealing factor, not aesthetics. One approach is to look at professional equipment and identify solutions that could transfer to a domestic kitchen. Another could be taking a universal design approach. What is it that really makes this product work? Studying the ‘extreme users’ could lead us to think differently on how we design for the many. Function is beauty BACKGROUND CHALLENGE
  • 23. 27 “Overthinking kitchen equipment isn’t good. The simplest design is the best.” THOMAS GARLAND, PROFESSIONAL CHEF IN COPENHAGEN
  • 24. FUTURE OF COOKING – OPPORTUNITY SPACES 28 Eating insects How might we introduce alternative foods such as insects into the Western diet – to eat and to grow? The concept of eating insects isn’t new at all. On a global scale, these protein-packed bad boys have been an important part of the diet for millennia. Really, Western cultures are just late to adopt this food trend. But they’re not just good for you, they’re good for the environment. The amount of red meat we consume in the West is an ‘environmental nightmare’, and as population increases, it’s simply unsustainable. Eating insects isn’t so much a trend, as a necessity. The opportunity lies in making insects socially acceptable in the West, to eat and to grow. BACKGROUND CHALLENGE
  • 25. 29 “It’s about a potential new Western culture of insect eating and breeding. It’s about making people aware that there is a great variety of food on our planet that we rarely consider.” “A KIT TO GROW BUGS AT HOME, TO EAT”, ARTICLE ON FASTCOMPANY
  • 26. FUTURE OF COOKING – OPPORTUNITY SPACES 30 How might we provide intuitive assistance in the kitchen? People are getting more adventurous in the kitchen, with new ingredients, new techniques, and new equipment … but we need help. New technology, from cognitive computing to augmented reality, has the potential to change the landscape of kitchen, with custom, intuitive, and seamless assistance. This could be simple analogue, or part of a digital infrastructure. Some products could even be fully automated, but the key thing here is the user is still in charge of cooking. There’s a fine line between helping and, well, being annoying. The ideal assistance has a human ‘intuitive’ quality that knows what information to deliver, and when. Shelve the cookbooks BACKGROUND CHALLENGE
  • 27. 31
  • 28. 33 Idea catalogue These are some of our initial ideas for future concepts. #I
  • 29. FUTURE OF COOKING - IDEA CATALOGUE 34 General storage Whenever we’re unsure about how to store food, we usually just seal it and stick it in the fridge. The thing is, a lot of our food doesn’t actually benefit from that treatment, but it goes to show how much we rely on the fridge as our central storage unit. We imagine something different, that brings together all different types of storage into one. It could be a modular system, made up of different containers, each with different storage settings – from temperature, to light, to ventilation – automatically adjusted according to the contents. Containers could even be taken out and about, to keep food cold throughout the day, then warming themselves up when you’re ready to eat. #1
  • 30. 35 Cleaning assistant We all know cleaning up as we go is best, but in practice it takes a lot of discipline and effort. The way we wash our things today hasn’t evolved much in the last hundred years, and still isn’t optimal. Right now it’s either put it in the dishwasher or wash it completely by hand. We want to change how our cleaning areas look, even change the whole cleaning process, to make it easier and faster to do the dishes. We imagine a kind of a ‘car wash’ for your dishes, combining the ease of the dishwasher, and the immediacy of hand-washing. #2
  • 31. FUTURE OF COOKING - IDEA CATALOGUE 36 Energy recycling Ambient thermal and kinetic energy could be harvested to power other processes in the kitchen, charge devices, or even be returned to the grid as electricity. Instead of of an ugly, technical box, we could turn it into a decorative, interactive element in the home. Incorporating gamification, making the collection of energy a challenge in itself, could make recycling energy fun and raise awareness around the topic. #3
  • 32. 37 Designed for all ‘Extreme users’ have very specific needs, and when designing to meet them, we often uncover new approaches that a broader audience can benefit from too. For example, draining a large pot of hot water isn’t just a hassle for a lot of people, it’s a hazard. We’d like to design creative solutions to improve this, along with other common processes in the kitchen. #4
  • 33. FUTURE OF COOKING - IDEA CATALOGUE 38 Reimagined cookware We’d like to create a range of cookware that saves space, while extending functionality. With removable, interchangeable handles, pots and pans would be easier to stack and store, and could even be suitable for putting in the oven or the fridge. Besides different handles for frying and boiling, special handles could extend the pot’s functionality further – from a handle with a scale function, to adapted handles for people with arthritis. #5
  • 34. 39 Lifecycle of the frying pan Using our contacts at EPEA, the scientific institute of cradle to cradle, we’d like to explore how a frying pan could be designed as part of a circular production system. Removable handles are a step in the right direction for design for disassembly, but how do we make sure each bit of the pan can go back into either the technical or biological cycles? One idea could be to develop a biodegradable, even edible, non-stick coating, to be scraped off and reapplied as necessary. #6
  • 35. FUTURE OF COOKING - IDEA CATALOGUE 40 Utensils in passive mode Sometimes plastic utensils just feel like a downright pain – when they’re not dripping all over your clean surfaces, they’re melting onto the frying pan! We want to make these tools more practical in their ‘passive mode’. How about adding a suction cup to the end of a spatula or spoon? That way, a spoon covered in sauce could be stuck over the sink, or even over the stove so that drips fall back into the pot. #7
  • 36. 41 Recipe playlist We imagine an app that could give you personalised recipes, with intuitive, human-feeling suggestions enabled by cognitive computing. The suggestions would be based on what ingredients you have to hand, with data collected from sensors in your fridge, cupboards, even your (micro) garden. The service could respond to real-time information, such as your location, the weather, or even extrapolate from your calendar to see how much time you might have. With an understanding of your skill level and taste profile, the service can refine its suggestions, or even broaden them to introduce you to new things based on recipes you loved. #8
  • 37. FUTURE OF COOKING - IDEA CATALOGUE 42 Smart pot We’d like to create a pot that can self-regulate the stove temperature, keeping the contents boiling – but never boiling over. This could be more of an analogue solution, or could be part of a wider digital infrastructure. The pot could also incorporate a self-stirring function, to prevent your dinner catching on the bottom of the pan, while an ‘air guard’ could prevent the pot’s contents from splattering all over the stove top. #9
  • 38. 43 Home-grown The idea of producing your own food is becoming increasingly popular. But for idea to become reality, we have to design products that people would genuinely, actively want in their homes and kitchens. It could be an autonomous vegetable growing system. It could be a lamp that can be used to grow micro-algae. Or a box specifically for growing edible insects. Whatever we do, it has to appeal to the general public, taking into account time and space constraints, and of course good looks! #10
  • 39. 45 The need for change is right in front of us, but how do we turn our shifting needs into opportunity? For sure, we’ll be incorporating new tech-enabled and digitally-driven solutions into the kitchen of the future, but how exactly will we bring these into your regular, family kitchen? People need technology that is wrapped around them – their needs, their lives – not the other way around. Designing the future of cooking is about making products that are sustainable, high-quality and available for everyone.
  • 40. FUTURE OF COOKING – OPPORTUNITY SPACES Sources 46 In the course of our research, we collected all kinds of sources – in-house trend research, future kitchen concepts, desktop research, interviews, and event shows. We didn’t want to give you a crazy long reading list; instead here’s an introduction to some of the topics we found the most interesting.
  • 41. 47 Why the “kitchen of the future” always fails us Search word: eater future kitchen IKEA / IDEO future kitchen concept Search word: ikea future k
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