Designing for the Grocery Store: A Service that Facilitates Community Building as a Means to Ecologic Improvement
Due to the rise in food industrialization and western disease, eating healthily has become a priority to Americans and many have embarked on a healthy eating journey. As a result, many products and services have materialized in an attempt to lessen the barriers that people encounter along the way.
Designers have done extensive work to bridge the gaps between the psychological, motivational, learning, and informational aspects of healthy eating. Largely, they have taken on the responsibility of designing information to provoke individual behavior change, however, they haven’t focused on changing the systemic level; and there’s much work to be done. While individual behavior change is important, people will not succeed at sustaining a healthy diet if they do not have sufficient access to healthy food. The lack of focus on designing to change food providers leads to a false implication that they have no role in influencing healthy food consumption. To fully implement behavior change within individuals, it is pertinent to influence change at both the individual level and the systemic–or food provider–level.
This thesis project highlights the importance of the relationship between food providers and food consumers in creating sustainable healthy food communities. The designer’s attention is focused on facilitating a conversation and commitment between the grocer and healthy eater; they each have a responsibility in achieving the common end. The solution augments existing services within the conventional grocery store so it can provide better access to healthy food, and therefore, make healthy eating easier for people.