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Tensions and Opportunities: An Activity Theory Perspective on Date and Storage Label Design through a Literature Review and Co-Creation Sessions

Wanjun Chu (), Helén Williams (), Karli Verghese (), Renee Wever () and Wiktoria Glad ()
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Wanjun Chu: Department of Management and Engineering, Linköping University, SE-581 83 Linköping, Sweden
Helén Williams: Service Research Center and Department of Engineering and Chemical Sciences, Karlstad University, SE-651 88 Karlstad, Sweden
Karli Verghese: School of Design, RMIT University, 3001 Melbourne, Australia
Renee Wever: Department of Management and Engineering, Linköping University, SE-581 83 Linköping, Sweden
Wiktoria Glad: Department of Thematic Studies, Linköping University, SE-581 83 Linköping, Sweden

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 3, 1-37

Abstract: On-pack date and storage labeling is one of the direct information carriers used by the food industry to communicate product shelf-life attributes to consumers. However, it is also one of the major factors that contribute to consumer food waste issues. This study aims to systematically understand the existing tensions within the current date and storage labeling system and explore the potential opportunities for design to intervene. First, we conducted a literature review to identify tensions that the consumer encounters in their food edibility assessment system and summarize the corresponding proposal for actions. 12 tensions and 16 proposals for action were identified and further framed according to a conceptual model developed in this study. Following this, the literature findings were refined and grounded in co-creation sessions in consumer workshops and industry practitioner interviews to develop specific labeling-related design implications. The findings indicate the importance of investigating the role that date and storage labeling play from a system level. Furthermore, we suggest that the conceptual model developed in this study can be used not only as a framework that guides researchers to identify and analyze labeling-related food waste problems that each individual consumer encounters, but also as a guideline that assists packaging design practitioners in exploring potential design opportunities to solve the problem from a system perspective.

Keywords: packaging design; date labels; food waste; design for sustainable behavior; activity theory (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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