Microalgae as future superfoods: Fostering adoption through practice-based design research

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Consumers’ eating habits are gradually changing. In the next few decades, this shift will not be solely dictated by individuals’ decisions but by the need to feed an ever-increasing population in the face of global resources’ impoverishment. Novel superfoods rich in nutrients and produced with sustainable methods, including microalgae, maybe a solution. However, their unusual aspect, the palatability, and the lack of knowledge by most people could be obstacles to adoption. This study aims at encouraging the use of microalgae as food, highlighting the importance that design plays in the transition towards more sustainable production and consumption patterns. Through practice-based design research, characterized by empirical experiments, a survey, an engaging workshop, and the development of a fully-functional open-source product, the authors conceptualize a theoretical framework within which similar product-service systems could thrive. This real-world experimentation is of interest for academics, professionals, makers in the field of design, etc. It suggests that multidisciplinarity, education, and replicability are the keys to addressing this topic and paves the way for further technical and humanistic research.

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Sustainability (Switzerland)

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