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Photo by Lesley Brook

Use your loaf

Lesley Brook —

Tackling food waste at a systemic level needs a design-thinking approach.

While for chefs food waste represents lost profit, approximately thirty per cent of all food produced around the globe is wasted at some point in the food chain while there is still hunger in the population. Tackling food waste is a global necessity for our populations, economies and our environment. For Peter Blakeway, there is nothing more important to our ability to thrive than to design food and sustainable food systems, and this is what drove his research project for his Master of Design Enterprise degree.

Peter took this opportunity to explore the redesigning of food waste systems, in the New Zealand context, through the lens of the design frameworks of the fine dining chef. His case study centred on food recovery within The Good Neighbour Trust, a social enterprise in Tauranga, New Zealand. Good Neighbour’s mission is to break the cycle of food waste and poverty by enabling access to healthy food and food education. In this case study Peter applied and critically analysed the Five Phase Culinary Design Model from Horng and Hu, and from Harrington.

Peter's research focussed particularly on the issue of waste bread. Finding new ways to use waste bread does not solve the issue of why our food system produces so much waste bread. While the tacit knowledge of chefs is a crucial part of the culinary experience, it is limiting within the wider context of food design where radical innovation is required to address issues at the systemic level. The model which Peter developed encourages the use of explicit knowledge to find new solutions, identify new problems and provide new understandings of existing problems. Peter's next challenge is to consider how to influence the industry mind-set that takes waste bread for granted.