Does this sound tempting: a lunchbox of fish cakes shaped as shellfish and starfish, which includes the sound of seagulls? What about a refrigerated mailbox outside your house, where you can have your dinner delivered?
Ideas abound in Byggeriet, the creative laboratory at Nofima Mat. The occasion is an innovation gathering for the project "Sjømat i farta" (Fast Seafood). Project owner Norwegian Seafood Association (NSL), representatives from the fisheries industry and from Nofima Mat have gathered to brainstorm.
Through a designer’s eyes
Being a fly on the wall is quite amusing. Creative ideas are bounced around. "A rotating plate with an induction top to keep your food warm," is one suggestion. "How about ordering your lunch in advance from the canteen, and having your personal lunch box prepacked and ready when you arrive for lunch. No queues, ready to be served. Perhaps you could even have a ‘beeper’ in your pocket, which could identify your lunch tray?"
Industrial Design Engineer Kjersti Øverbø Schulte listens to the participants and draws their suggestions. In a short while she has produced over 30 illustrations. Several of the participants much prefer this visual way of presenting and collecting suggestions rather than in writing.
"What you’re watching is a ‘Yes, and…’ process. In this phase, all ideas are welcome and no babies will be killed. We have hired designer Kjersti Schulte to help us visualise the process. Innovation and design are tightly linked, and therefore involving designers early in the innovation process is important," says Hilde Skotland Mortvedt, Head of Strategy and Analysis.
"In the next phase, we will screen the ideas. Innovation is so much more than just the development of new products. It can also be things like finding new and untraditional collaboration partners, sales channels, distribution routes or changes in the manufacturing process," she continues.
Where do we eat
Geir Håbesland has been hired as an innovation consultant. He has led many innovation processes for the food industry, and collaborates often with Nofima Mat.
"We have had meetings earlier in this project, where we have identified our target groups and where they will eat when they purchase their food. This project is focused on kiosks, petrol stations and the service market," he informs us.
Observation studies have been carried out, and the following situations where people eat have been given the most attention:
- One-handed food: food on the way home from work. The purpose of this food is not necessarily to give a filling feeling. It’s important that the product can be held in one hand. The other hand is perhaps used to carry something or to work with.
- The car as your dining table – food on the road. The family on holiday. This food must be healthy and not produce too many spills.
- Lunch express – Ready-made seafood dishes that fill your stomach. Key concepts are enjoyment and short breaks.
- Spontaneous dinner – Food courses for the whole family, which are quick to prepare and give a filling feeling.
Results for free use
Kristin Lauritzen from the Norwegian Seafood Association (NSL) looks forward to presenting the results from this project.
"We’re developing a basis for free use in the seafood industry, and hope that our discoveries and ideas can be the seed for many tasty dishes in the fast food market. I believe we have made a basis that is so good that it can inspire the development of several concepts to the market from the Norwegian seafood industry," she says.
The project has been financed by The Fishery and Aquaculture Industry Research Fund, and is headed by Nofima Mat adviser Britt Signe Granli.