Eating Like There is a Tomorrow : A Design Science Research Projecton Developinga Technology That Supports Individuals in Following a More Sustainable Diet

Lena Marijke Wenzel

Student thesis: Master thesis


Our diet has not only an impact on our personal health, but poses great challenges to the environment and society as a whole. About 40% of livable land is used for agriculture. Food producGon alone is accountable for about 70% water use and up to 30% of global CO2e emissions [1], [2], [3], [4], [5]. This is more than double the CO2 emissions of the global transportaGon sector, which is responsible for about 14% of global CO2e emissions [6]. At the same Gme, current soluGons that address this challenge ofen rely on the producer side or on informaGon provision to the consumer in the form of labels [7]. The lager has proven to be of ligle effect or even impeding the confused and skepGcal consumer who can not see through the jungle of claims and labels [8], [9], [10]. A possible hint for the existence of this paradox is the gap between research and pracGce. Determinants of a sustainable diet are well researched but lack pracGcal implementaGon and tesGng [11], [12]. Hitherto, current consumer soluGons are ofen not grounded in theory and thus fail to support a change in dietary habit. Thus, this design science thesis supports overcoming this gap by developing and tesGng a technical soluGon that supports individuals in adapGng a more sustainable diet. Hence, the research quesGon „How can influencing factors of sustainable diets be leveraged by technology in order to support sustainable dietary change?“ will be addressed. For this, a total of five iteraGons have been followed in close collaboraGon with a target user group, going from user needs development to soluGon ideaGon and tesGng. Grounding the project in kernel theory on dietary habits and primary studies on the determinants of sustainable food consumpGon, conGnuous user insights added to the design and development of the final arGfact: a sustainable recipe app. The app was tested over a course of 3 weeks with a total of 15 users. The final evaluaGon compromised a themaGc analysis of the semi-structured interviews conducted. EvaluaGon shows that the applicaGon supported users in changing their diet and creaGng a higher consciousness of food sustainability in general. Notably, intriguing content such as nice photos and inspiring ingredients, as well as supporGng the user in seang achievable goals for his or her dietary change turned out to be most supporGve. Hence, this thesis supports sustainable dietary researchers in taking the step from theory to pracGce, it supports insGtuGons in supporGng dietary change more meaningfully and it brings research into current pracGces of sustainable dietary change technologies. With this, this thesis addresses a global challenge by supporGng individuals to eat, like there is a tomorrow.

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and E-business, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages93
SupervisorsRob Gleasure