Creating green impact from 1st semester
To meet the climate challenges and improve animal welfare, and our own, we need to eat more plants and less meat. Still more citizens agree, but there is a major linguistic-psychological challenge to overcome. The food industry has so far mainly opted for plant-based (and other) “copies” of well-known meat products with names like NonBurger and Chili-sin-Carne. A more lasting and far-reaching effect requires the development also of so-called “really new" plant-based products that simply “are what they are” but taste great and appeal to a broader range of consumers. The question is how exactly such new products should be named and how they can be framed visually and sensorically to find a lasting place in our minds and on our plates.
A front-runner in taking up this challenge is the innovative Danish company The Plant Butchers (Planteslagterne). Together with the FairSpeak Group at CBS, the Sensory Group at DTU, the Danish Language Council, fellow companies, and relevant NGOs, they are presently preparing a cross-cutting research and development initiative on the naming and framing of innovative green foods.
As a first step – and taste – the Plant Butchers recently participated as a Live Case at the CBS HA(MAK) course Communication Theory for about 100 students. The case work evolved around The Plant Butcher’s current efforts to create, name, and frame new high-quality plant-based pasta sauces as alternatives to meat-based classics like ragù Bolognese. The students were organized in virtual communication agencies and invited to develop competing proposals for a new product within the limits set by the client. That included a suggestion for an innovative product name and a mock-up of a surrounding visually and conceptually appealing packaging design.
The outcomes were pitched at a grand finale event November 3rd. During two intense sessions, 17 proposals were presented and given individualized feedback and suggestions for further improvements by co-founder and CCO at The Plant Butchers Henrik Have Christensen. Digital visualizations of the product and packaging suggestions were supplemented and motivated by relevant learnings from the course on such issues as the dynamics between verbal and visual design features, transmedia storytelling, bottom-up versus top-down attraction of visual attention, and much else.
Examples of some proposals for pasta sauce product concepts that came out of the Live Case. The one to the right is among those that stand a fair chance for making its way further down the product development pipeline.
When summing up his experience of the event, Henrik Have Christensen described it as “beyond all expectations” regarding both the overall quality of the proposed ideas, the way they were presented, and the underlying theoretical reflections. Considering that this was done by 1st semester students with much more theoretical learnings and hands-on training lying ahead, Henrik also expressed his hopes to see some of the students again as future collaborators and possible employees. As for green impact, a few of the ideas pitched would seem to stand a good chance of making it further down the product development pipeline – meaning new green alternatives to meat-based pasta sauces becoming available on the shelfs of stores such as SuperBrugsen and Føtex in a foreseeable future.
Some atmosphere from the pitch sessions with Co-founder and CCO Henrik Have Christensen from the Plant Butchers (bottom right) listening carefully and delivering sharp and constructive comments.