THE UNIVERSITY CAFETERIA

OF THE FUTURE

CANTEEN 2.0
ABOUT
Through qualitative, human-centered research, we have identified the needs and challenges of consumers and stakeholders in the university canteen environment. The result of our trend and field research is a comprehensive report, which shows four different scenarios of a future cafeteria. Each future scenario caters to the needs of users and the environment and our rapidly changing societies alike. The report is supplemented by potential fields of intervention for innovation and change and an overview of relevant social trends.
CHALLENGE
What comes to your mind when you picture a university canteen in Germany? A common answer to this question usually involves the following adjectives: loud, impersonal, tasteless. We were eager to explore the alternatives.In cooperation with the KErn - Competence Center for Nutrition Bavaria, we launched the project "Canteen 2.0".

What does a student cafeteria of the future look like? Will it be more digital and able to reduce food waste? Could it foster creativity in the kitchen or can haute cuisine even become the norm? And will today's typical canteen concept even be able to sustain itself in the future?

This is just a small selection of questions that we have asked ourselves during our research project Canteen 2.0 in search for possible future scenarios of the university cafeteria.
METHOD AND APPROACH
We spent four weeks in the extended canteen cosmos and explored the conditions, wishes and potentials of communal feeding from different perspectives. Based on a qualitative, human-centered approach and the Design Thinking methodology, we have gone through six phases in our research: understanding, observing, defining, developing ideas and prototyping and testing.
 
We have been guests in various cafeterias and canteens, have observed and experienced processes and conducted qualitative interviews with people with different perspectives and evaluated best and worst practice examples. Our interview partners included students, farmers, consultants, caterers, chefs, foodpreneurs, as well as representatives from universities, student councils, ministries and politics, NGOs, university canteens, company canteens, theater canteens, start-ups and restaurants. Additionally, we found inspiration in innovative food concepts, such as Isla Coffee Berlin, Data Kitchen or the UNISG cafeteria in Bra, Italy.

We used the gained insights to filter out relevant information by focusing on surprising and fascinating findings, repetitive patterns and themes, and on things of particular relevance to today's age. We interpreted the findings and summarized them into 23 thematic fields of action. The individual fields of action helped us in focusing on specific challenges.
The fields of action specifically show possibilities for intervention and highlightwhere development and innovation are necessary and possible. Building on this, we developed different scenarios for a cafeteria of the future that integrate user needs and trends and replicated them as immersive prototypes. Future users could empathize with these prototypes in the "Canteen 2.0". Through interaction with the prototype, as well as through the prototype-focused interview with the tester, we generated valuable feedback. We used feedback on the developed future canteens to adapt or expand our prototypes accordingly. 
 
The result are four future scenarios that highlight the possible futures of the university canteen in the digital age. Each scenario focuses on a certain topic and exaggerates it accordingly. Above all, the purpose of the scenarios is to challenge and provoke the status quo.
"THERE IS A WEIRD FOOD CULTURE IN GERMANY; EVERYTHING HAS TO BE FAST AND CHEAP."
Canteen Operator
"MY GOAL IS TO DIGITIZE FROM FARM TO FORK.”
Food Innovator
"CANTEENS NEED TO BE MORE FLEXIBLE. IF PINEAPPLE IS NOT AVAILABLE, OFFER THE DESSERT WITH APPLE INSTEAD."
Supplier
RESULTS
FIELDS OF ACTION
Based on our field research, the fields of action outline a broad spectrum of intervention possibilities. Thematically, fields of action range from questions about the systemic embedding and network of the canteen, the integration of different culinary cultures, to potentials of the canteen as an attractive employer and digital pioneer.
 
As a system in the system, the canteen has an incredible networking potential, which has been used little or not at all up until now. Many students value a sustainable eating culture, but this is often opposed to practice with a focus on fast, inexpensive food - preferably "To Go". What is also surprising is the contradiction between the high potential for co-creation and employee motivation in the cafeteria practice and the usual disillusioning implementation in practice.
 
Other topics covered include the use of space and ambience, the cafeteria as a social place, the food that is being served, participation and communication, the use of good ingredients and nutrition education.
FUTURE SCENARIOS
Innovation culture, new learning, entrepreneurship, self-organization and sustainable consumption are among the trends built upon in our four developed future canteens Food Lab, Omnicafeteria, Mensamorphosis and Cafeteria Collective.

While the Food Lab promotes experimental food-based learning and places a great importance on transparent food processes, the Omnicafeteria focuses on self-organization, individuality and sustainability. In the Mensamorphosis, canteen guests find themselves in a peaceful oasis where they can playfully experience the fascination of nature through technology. The Cafeteria Collective places a special focus on the kitchen team, which organizes work in the cafeteria in a collaborative and customer-centered way.
 
The report includes the visualization of these four scenarios of a future canteen in form of future meals and posters and further explains the future canteens in fictional newspaper articles and fact sheets. The posters show the respective atmosphere of the scenario and allow for individual associations. The newspaper articles from the future and the fact sheets describe the concept as well as the needs and trends that underlie the respective scenario.

 
Copyright 2018 - FOOD KOMPANIONS
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