Burkey Belser designed the nutrition label we use today in 1994. Belser wrote this article in ‘94 on the problems and challenges he faced when designing the food label.
This will be an interesting article to look back on when deciding what needs to be solved with the food label. What solutions did Belser come up with? What better solutions can I come up with? What problems am I limited by? Etc.
Farmer’s Markets are in high demand now as more and more people want fresher, local produce. But farmer’s markets are often limited to middle to upper class neighborhoods. “Farm on Wheels” is a concept designed to effectively sell local produce to urban residents. It features trucks that dispatch produce from a network of local farms to residents of LA.
Small farmers often have a difficult time selling their products, because having to go through a supermarket or other store adds cost onto their products’ final prices. But some local farmers in Germany thought of the solution to sell their products to customers through vending machines. These machines are set up to dispense fresh milk, eggs, butter, cheese, potatoes, and sausage. The savings from not having to go through a third party can be seen through lower product prices, and thus consumers can eat healthier and fresher for cheaper.
Del Monte recently launched a line of vending machines full of healthy snacks as opposed to the junk food normally found in vending machines. Snacks include fresh produce. The company wanted to respond to the increasing customer demand for healthy snacks on the go.
Again, discussion of supermarket layout. This article says that grocery stores put foods at eye level that they want you to buy, for example, candy at childrens’ eye level. Also, putting things you want/need (like dairy) in the back of the store so you have to walk through all the junk food to get at it.
Discuses the layout of most grocery stores in America today and the tricks they use to get consumers to buy more. For example, the bakery is usually placed in the back of the store so the smell of freshly baked goods will lead your nose all the way to the back, even if you only came for a tomato. Grocery stores also use impulse buying to their advantage. For example, the more expensive brands of salad dressing are kept in the produce section.
Basically, the article explains how grocery stores get you to buy more.
Similar to the last link, except with three extra lies, oh boy!
Made with whole grains, ingredients (they can list of multiple different kinds of sugar with difficult names, but there’s still a whole lot’o sugar), serving size, omega 3, made with real fruit, 0 trans fat, free range eggs, fiber, and health claims.
This was a contest created by UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism’s News21 program. They asked the public to redesign the nutritional label to make it easier to understand and more useful to people who want to eat healthier.
The winning ideas were all really great, but none of them are perfect.
Does this show that the idea of a label itself is flawed? Perhaps something entirely different is necessary.
Is the fact that the current food label needs such an extensive website to be explained a sign that it’s not that great in the first place? Or is it Americans’ faults for not researching their food? How much responsibility should people hold for knowing/researching what is healthy, and how much responsibility does the food label hold for being easily understood?
Anyways, if I myself need clarification on the nutrition label, this is the best resource.
Article discussing how food packaging influences the choices people make in the supermarket. What if healthy food were packaged as junk food? Or as a generic (cheaper) brand, instead of trying to look upscale and expensive?
There are lots of great reader comments to this article, too. The readers ask really thoughtful questions.
"We can redesign the food pyramid until the end of time, but if there aren’t any apple at the deli to be eaten, so what?"
"Consider the bizarre yet compelling idea of repackaging baby carrots as junk food."
"If we make healthy look upscale, then the assumption is that it costs more."
One reader’s comment: "Apples aren’t packaged. In fact, most healthy foods aren’t. The question I would ask is what role can designers play outside of packaging? Can we influence habits that surround eating before people even enter the supermarket?"