Food is the most fundamental product we consume, yet most people don’t appreciate the amount of research, design, and engineering that goes into many of the items at their local supermarket or favorite restaurant. Although design's role in other consumer goods, especially electronics, is widely acknowledged, the contribution of product design to food and culinary items is often overlooked. Designers have, in fact, come up with countless innovations to command shelf space and redefine established categories in the hotly contested culinary marketplace.
As is the case with most new products, delivering a memorable user experience has become an important goal of many food-related items. Whether it's an attempt to renew interest in a proven brand or a fresh approach to bring consumers together through food, a well-designed eating experience can sooth, satisfy, and entertain us in the most powerful ways.
The past year has seen the introduction of hundreds of new food-related products, not to mention the start of innumerable food-related trends. Here’s a brief roundup of the designs and innovations I predict will have staying power, as well as a few I’m hoping will slide off the cultural radar faster than fried eggs on a Teflon pan.
Joel Delman is creative director for the Los Angeles office of Product Development Technologies which is based in Lake Zurich, Ill. He blogs about product innovation at www.productfetish.com.