S U M M E R 2 0 1 6


 Why do we call Albert heijn, Jumbo, Delhaize, etc. supermarkets? 
Where did the market go?
While standing on the market, it triggers all senses! We can see, smell, feel, taste and even hear fresh food being presented to us. On the contrary, we can barely find any of these sensations in the super-market. Plastic packaging shimmers into our faces, covering each time again one product; it does not only mask the products identity but also adverts the contact of the product with any consumer. 
After it's duty, the packaging ends up being wasted for its qualities. 

What if we would eat it all? Maybe more valuable packaging might question this plastic trend? Trying to bring the identity/characteristics of the product forward, I want to research and experiment with materials, which could be suitable for packaging. Starting of with collecting organic waste and by-products (like fat, chicken feathers, etc.) from home but also to look into production systems. Possibly combine with the food? Thereupon researching these resources to create a wide assortment, suitable for creating biodegradable packaging. Questioning its demands, its after-life and looking into "personal packaging" for the products. The package can now become something, instead of only containing something for a fraction of its life. No blind shopping anymore, qualitative products in edible/biodegradable packaging will be the future.





How do we bring back these sensations into today's supermarkets ? ''


Frustrations in the supermarket Just after I went through the double sliding door, I immediately noticed the blue plastic shopping carts lined up next to me. Way too many, I believed, to all fit in here at the same time. Looking to the other side, what I saw gave me a sense of how big the space inside would be. Slowly I strolled along the almost filled crates with vegetables. Surrounded by zooming fridges, 
I doubted what I should make for dinner. In the lighted fridges behind me there were a variety of pre-made meals. They didn't look very attractive, but the labels promised me something good. I wondered if I could believe them. I smelt a warm sent of freshly baked bread, following my nose I ended up next to a big self-service type of bakery. There were people working behind the low deep shelves with bread on them, but 
I could not figure out why. The employees didn't serve me like they would in a bakery, where they produce in front of us. Yet they did create that illusion. And why was everything already wrapped for me? The further I went in, the bigger the racks became. In the middle of the supermarket, the fully filled, high shelves enclosed me. When I walked further I came across all different kinds of pastas, rice, flower etc. all wrapped up in more or less the same plastic packaging, yet they all seemed slightly different, because of the various sizes and different eye catching prints.

Plastic exhibition in the super market

Why are these indoor markets so great and popular? For me, these are not big markets. They are plastic exhibitions that work mostly with a visual illusion to please the customer. The label that tells us about the product inside, is telling different stories while using the same format. This same format they use outside the supermarket, in their advertisements and promos which we see everywhere, every day. Personalizing the brand, not the product. All this to stimulate brand loyalty. 
The fluorescent light of the supermarket reflects on that sterile plastic and shines in our faces. Plastic packaging seems to stand in the way between us -the consumers- and the actual food. When we walk into supermarkets with the goal to buy food, which while consuming it, will stimulate our senses. We will feel it with our hands. We will smell it and to taste it. Yet while we are buying this stuff, none of our senses are stimulated. We can't feel the meat we want to buy; we can't smell the spices we are planning to use. We trust the plastic packaging and the labels, not our senses. This way of looking at a supermarket might seem extreme, yet I believe I found a solution that is very practical and almost commercial. In my utopian supermarket, the plastic exhibition will have to make place for a real super market. A real super market is a place where your senses are constantly triggered. Where you can see the products you want to buy, and where you can smell the food everywhere you go within the market. You can hear the grease of the chicken dripping on in the hot grill and the people shouting, trying to sell you their fresh products. The combination of all these overwhelmed senses creates a real market sensation. Where there are many different items that try to stand out, not because of all the different brands and packages, but because of the variety in products. Where advertisements are not inevitably pushed in your face as soon as you reach to grab a piece. A real super market is a place where you choose your food based on your senses. Packaging does not need to be plastic, paper or glass. Packaging does not need to create a barrier between the food and its consumer. It can emphasize the identity of the product, it can create a new experience during consuming, it can add something to the brand its values, etc. For example, if you take ice cream. Ice cream is often served on a cone. This cone is part of the identity of the ice cream and part of the product. You eat the product with its packaging.

My proposal