Post 8: Possibilities for Design Response to Support Healthy Fast Food Industry

Written by Meiying Lin

During week 6’s tutorial, we finally began to brainstorm the possibilities of design response to our issue topic. After five weeks of brainstorming and mind mapping, I am clear that my issue topic is about the affect of the branding and advertising in the fast food industry to individuals, especially in the adolescent. To begin with the brainstorm, we had been given a task to analyze the problem statement by five simple questions. I came up with the following result:

Analysing the problem

Who does the problem affect?

The key stakeholders involved in this problem are the fast food companies and the workers such as a designer, photographer, and writer who work for the fast food companies. The advertising and marketing of fast food companies directly affect consumer’s eating habit and encourage them to purchase their products. The consumers are basically everyone, especially children, teenagers and young adults. The fast food companies targeted them as main audiences by using a coupon, discount and small gifts, such as toys.

What are the boundaries of the problem?

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McDonald Poster

There are three boundaries in this problem. Firstly is the lack of regulation in the fast food advertisement, especially on a digital platform. Unhealthy fast food advertisement is everywhere on social media apps, such as Facebook and Instagram. Secondly, is the label on fast food advertising. The label such as ‘organic’, ‘healthy choice’, ‘sugar-free’ and ‘less fat’ appeared in much fast food advertisements, included McDonald. This label directly affects consumer’s decision making. Lastly is the boundary between healthy and unhealthy fast food is unclear. It is obvious that the advertising and marketing of healthy fast food companies are unsuccessful. There is the lack of healthy fast food advertisement nowadays.

When does the problem occur? When does it need to be fixed?

This problem has occurred for a very long time since the fast food companies were found, and this problem needs to be fixed immediately. Fast food companies played an important role to help the grow of worldwide obesity rate, especially in childhood obesity. Once we had a bad eating habit, it is hard change. As we all know obesity could cause various chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure. Therefore, this problem needs to be fixed immediately.

Where does the problem occur?

This problem has occurred everywhere as obesity is a worldwide issue.

Why is this issue important?

The worldwide obesity rate, especially the childhood obesity rate keeps increasing due to the fast food companies targeted children and teenagers as main audiences. According to my research, the fast food companies spend lots of  money on their advertising and marketing, such as providing a kid’s meal with free toys, which strongly affect children’s eating habit, and eating habit is hard to change. The unhealthy fast food contains lots of sugar, salt, and fat, which will cause obesity and various chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure. Therefore, this problem is important.

Problem statement

According to my brainstorming exercise above, I came up with the following problem statement:

To design a way that can promote healthy fast food industry and correct adolescent‘s eating habits.

Five possibilities

Base on the problem statement above, I came up with the following five possible design response:

+ Service Design: To create an application and/or a website for healthy fast food delivery. There are lots of food delivery application, such as Domino, EatNow, and Foodora. It could be nice to have an application and/or a website that’s for healthy fast food delivery only. The calorie, fat and the among of sugar and salt will be display clearly, so the user can simply see how much calorie he/she intake in this meal.

+ Service Design: To create a personal calorie intake guide application. This interactive application will give user suggestion of daily calorie intake base on user’s health information. This application will have a calorie calculator and will allow the user to search the calorie, fat and the among of sugar and salt of the food. Beyond that, the healthy fast food advertisement will appear in this application as ‘recommended food choice’.

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Healthy Fast Food Packaging

+ Visualisation Practices: To encourage more designers to help existed and/or new healthy fast food companies to improve their branding and advertising, especially packaging. Most healthy fast food packagings nowadays are focused on their label such as organic and healthy choice, however, their brand images are unclear (see photograph above). To encourage more designer to help to improve healthy fast food’s branding and advertising is a good way to encourage the consumer to purchase healthy fast food and prevent worldwide obesity rate grown.

+ Generative Systems / Service Design: To organise a small event or small party once a week to promote healthy fast food industry. The event could conduct in a various small park in different districts on every Sunday morning when the parents will take their children out and adolescent has free time. The event will only sell cheap healthy fast food, and provide a limited amount of free gifts such as pencil and hand cream, or coupons for healthy fast companies when consumer purchase the food. The aim of this is to encourage the consumer to keep purchasing their product on another period, such as purchase online.

+ Generative Systems / Service Design: Similar to my last possible design response, to organise a small event once a week to promote healthy fast food industry. The event could conduct on the lunchtime in a school day once a week. This event could conduct on any school, especially high school and university, where the student has the ability to purchase food. The event will only sell cheap healthy fast food, and provide a limited amount of free gifts such as pencil and hand cream, or coupons for healthy fast food companies when consumer purchase the food. The aim of this event is to encourage student eat healthily and acknowledge more healthy food brands.

Draft Proposal

Due to the lack of regulation on unhealthy fast food advertising, unhealthy fast food advertisements were anywhere, especially on a digital platform, such as Facebook and Instagram. As most adolescents browsed these social media apps every day, the fast food advertisements have strongly affected their eating habit. On the other hand, lack of healthy fast food advertisement and the unsuccessful branding of healthy fast food companies caused the lack of acknowledging of the healthy fast food brands. In order to promote healthy fast food industry to adolescent, a small promote event of healthy fast food at high school and university once a week is necessary. The target audience in this project are students in high school and university as they have the ability to pay a small amount of money for their lunch.

The small promote event should have several small stalls from different food companies. Only healthy food are allowed to sell in this event, included food that’s ready to serve and instance package food. In order to encourage students to purchase the healthy food in this event, a point collect system will available as apps. Students can download this application for free, then enter their basic information such as school name, student name and student id for the register. Every time when a student purchase a food in the event, his/her receipt will contain a bar code, simply scan this barcode via the app will gain points on student’s account. The point can be exchanged for a discount coupon of different fast food companies. The aim of this system also encourages student to keep purchasing healthy fast food not just in the event, as the discount coupon could be used on the healthy fast food’s website and/or their shop as well. Moreover, some small promotion will appear on this app as well, such as a ‘like’ for a healthy fast food company on Facebook will give the student a small discount on their next purchase. This could become a very good advertisement on the digital platform, as his/her Facebook friend will see this action via their Newsfeed. Thus more and more people will acknowledge this healthy fast food brand.

In conclusion, this is a win-win project. The healthy fast food companies only need to build a temporary small stall once a week for this event, the stalls could be a table with the brand logo on, and the companies will gain more awareness of their brands. On the other hand, as this event only sell cheap healthy food and have a point collect system, students can save a small amount of money, in the meanwhile, students can correct their eating habits as well.


References:

  1. McDonald, 2015, The Minions have landed!, Poster, viewed 14 September 2016, <http://mitsueki.sg/2015/06/18/minions-fever-hits-singapore-free-toy-with-every-happy-meal-purchased/>.
  2. Asprey Creative, 2015, Monster Health Food Co packaging, Poster, viewed 14 September 2016, <http://www.thedieline.com/blog/2013/4/8/before-after-monster-health-food-co.html>.
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