NIFK20000U Food Concept Design

Volume 2021/2022

Msc Programme in Integrated Food Studies


The aim of the course is to give the students insight into the socio-material basis for conceptual food design approaches (such as design thinking). The combination of practical and theoretical excercises will enable the students to make creative and unique solutions informed by relevant theory to improve food services and experiences as well as broader food system challenges.

The course will have a focus on contemporary sustainable and ethical everyday meals and experience food concepts and their users. However, it will also present and discuss how broader historic developments (economic, social, and cultural) affect both the celebratory and the “everyday design” of our shared and individual food environments. Relevant environments include commercial businesses as well as public institutions.

The course will integrate socio-material design understanding with with more extensive and systemic user experience perspectives and consumer knowledge. The course, therefore, builds upon knowledge from the areas of food sociology and food systems. The studens will gain unique integrative competencies to analyse, visualize and facilitate food design improvements for relevant users interacting with and in different food environments and concepts.

The course draws on, and presents, relevant literature from science and technology studies, food concept design, event-and service design studies, food sociology as well as some applied material cultural analysis. Students are expected to create visual and conceptual solutions that are informed by both theory and practice, and to be able to discuss and present these solutions in an manner that coherently integrates, or reflects, the different fields of study presented through-out the course

Learning Outcome


  • describe and compare conceptual design methods and models
  • understand the socio-material basis of design approaches and its users
  • reflect on historical and socio-cultural drivers of food concept design changes



  • analyze the design process in a socio-material approach

  • apply design methods and tools on a give case

  • create theoretically informed designs/concepts for a given case



  • critically  evaluate current food design challenges
  • critically reflect on the proces of involving users/actors and suggesting design solutions
  • propose and validate new design solutions in a given context

See Absalon for a list of course literature

Qualifications within the field of food sociology and food systems are recommended
Activities in the course will be a mix of interactive workshops with an emphasis on acquiring and applying knowledge and tools regarding food concept design, as well as more traditional lectures focusing on theory and practices.
Participating students will throughout the course have the opportunity to work with “real life” food environments/concepts or pursue own food design experiments in closed lab-environments.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 21
  • Preparation
  • 115
  • Practical exercises
  • 42
  • Guidance
  • 20
  • Exam Preparation
  • 7
  • Exam
  • 1
  • Total
  • 206
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 - 25 minutes
Oral examination, 20-25 min. No time for preparation.

The portfolio is not included in the assessment.
Exam registration requirements

Submission of an individual portfolio.

All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners

The same as the ordinary exam.

If the portfolio was not handed in before the ordinary exam, the student must submit an portfolio three weeks prior to reexam.

Criteria for exam assesment

See learning outcome.