during dutch design week, food designer laila snevele presents an installation of five visual digitalizations that stimulate one’s taste buds without showing edible ingredients or releasing their scent. presented as part of the design academy eindhoven‘s graduation show, digital seasoning combines empathy with material, color, facial mimicry, and overall feeling, to prove that taste is created mostly, if not entirely, in our minds. 

image © design academy eindhoven, by ronald smits

 

 

a graduate of the academy’s food nonfood department, laila snevele has combined two human addictions, screens and food, in an installation that puts a face to each of the five basic tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami. drawing from the neurological research of experimental psychologist charles spence, who explains that elements like color, shape, sound, temperature, and material can be used to intensify or create illusions about taste, digital seasoning activates one’s brain neurons just by looking at the expressive visualizations.

 

 

 

‘our mind creates taste expectations before food reaches the mouth,’ explains snevele, ‘looking at a facial expression on a screen can awaken empathy; this can change our own experience of food – like looking at someone eating a lemon, we know the food is going to be sour.’ the project’s application potential could have a great impact on the food industry by employing digital seasoning to reduce the amounts of salt, MSG, sugar, and citric acid levels in processed foods, and therefore enabling a healthier eating behavior with less harmful ingredients. 

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