WOM is an interdisciplinary project being carried out by Mingji Liu from MA1 Service Design and Zeyi Li from MA1 Design Product. They started working together because of the same goal of promoting insect-based food globally.
Because of the foreseeable future food shortage, the United Nations is calling for the consumption of insects, an alternative protein that consumes fewer resources and has less impact on the environment. But in many countries, there is no culture of eating insects which is a large barrier to promoting edible insects.
Through their local interviews in London, most people refused to add insects to their daily consumption because they think insects are disgusting. However, some interviewees said they would try to eat insects if they knew more about how can entomophagy save the planet and what food and drink pair insects best.
By getting into the insect farming and cooking process and interviewing stakeholders in the industry, they learned that there are quite many people farming insects and the number of interest is growing. On the back end side, there are many roasted whole insects and insect powder products on the current market such as puffed food, energy bars and cookies.
How Might We integrate insect-based food into people’s natural daily food choices by engaging people more in the whole journey of novel food application?
They make an assumption that people need to be engaged in every stage from the insects being farmed to being served. Community farms might be a good direction to explore, as insect farms occupy a similar area to plant verticals and are simple and efficient to process, making them suitable for communities. This led them to explore the practical possibilities of ecofarm in two ways.
Mingji focused on how to increase the engagement of consumers through innovative services. He has shared his initial ideas with various industry players and is gradually refining the service offering. There will be workshops and events to showcase their prototypes of the service in July.