Design Thinking Approach For Healthy Food Experiences and Well-Being: Contributions to Theory and Practice

Call for papers for: European Journal of Marketing

Guest Editors:

Wided Batat, Full Professor of Marketing, EM Normandie Business School, Metis Lab & University of Lyon 2
[email protected]

Michela Addis, Full Professor – Università di Roma Tre
[email protected]

Aims and scope:

This special issue seeks to expand the research conducted to date, and approach the relationship between design thinking and well-being through a broad lens-focusing on food consumption activities. This special issue builds on the recent literature on food consumption and consumer well-being (Addis and Holbrook, 2019; Batat, 2019; Batat et al., 2019; Block et al. 2011; Scott and Vallen, 2019) as well as works on food justice and sustainability (Batat et al., 2017; Batat, 2016). Specifically, it questions how Design Thinking can help researchers, marketers, institutions, public policy makers, and food services and industry to enhance the food well-being of consumers by designing healthy, pleasurable, and innovative food experiences including meals, space, delivery, services, etc. A Design Thinking approach can provide important insights to understand and address a wide range of transformative consumer research issues comprising relationship to food, self-control, and designing future healthy eating experiences. Despite these big promises, until recently there have been only a few attempts to develop and implement a Food Design Thinking for food innovation and well-being focusing on the whole food experience.

Design Thinking, a term first introduced by Buchanan in 1992 in design studies uses the designer’s methods to match people’s needs with what is technically feasible and commercially viable (Brown, 2008). It has been defined as a human-centered innovation process that emphasizes observation, collaboration, fast learning, visualization of ideas, rapid prototyping, and concurrent business analysis (Lockwood, 2010). During the last 10-15 years, Design Thinking has evolved from a way of thinking among engineers when designing technical products to become a very popular innovation technique among scholars focusing on innovation management (Olsen, 2015). In food innovation, research reveals that Design Thinking is gradually making its way into the food value chain too. Consultancy firms and non-profit organizations offer Design Thinking help to individual firms, branch organizations, and public food and health organizations (e.g., However, while Design Thinking has attracted business scholars focusing on innovation management (e.g., Liedtka, 2014; Norman and Verganti, 2014; Seidel and Fixson, 2013), the same is not the case within the food marketing and transformative consumer research. This special issue contributes to marketing food research by discussing how Design Thinking can help to design innovative food experiences which are healthy, satisfying, and pleasurable.

The integration of a Food Design Thinking approach has the potential to foster cost-effective, impactful food educational programs, and food innovation that can actually be implemented and utilized. Rather than providing an alternative to science as a way to creating knowledge, Food Design Thinking provides a complementary approach to transform food-marketing research. This special issue will define Food Design Thinking and what is its contribution to FWB. It also describes how Design Thinking differs from the traditional way of thinking within food services and industry and discusses the likely outcome of Design Thinking to achieving food innovation for consumer well-being. Furthermore, in this special issue, we aim to discuss and exemplify how Design Thinking can contribute to innovation in the food industry to achieve well-being based on three main aspects that capture the core of this new food approach: consumer empathy, visualization and rapid prototyping, and collaboration. Accordingly, an integrated team of Design Thinking scholars, designers, consumer behavior researchers, community members and community partner leadership – each bringing different areas of expertise and different sets of skills – has greater potential to address food issues than any one of these groups working alone. We hope this special issue will gather researchers and business people to allow conceptualizing Design Thinking Approach for innovative food consumption experiences and individual and collective well-being.

In line with the focus of EJM, we welcome papers with quantitative and qualitative methodologies or other alternative qualitative techniques used off and online. All disciplinary, theoretical (e.g., practice theory, sociological of food theory, anthropology of food, etc.) and methodological perspectives are welcomed. We aim to stimulate research in three key areas:
1.    Shedding new perspectives on the food design thinking, food well-being, and the challenges and opportunities for marketers and the food and restaurant industries;
2.    Examining constraints and obstacles related to the design of health food products and places;
3.    Finally, we also welcome novel empirical and conceptual research that challenges our understanding of food design thinking and its contribution to food health as well as individual and social well-being.

Topics for this special issue include, but not limited, to the following themes:

a.    What does food design thinking mean? And what are its key determinants?
b.    How can we define the relationship between food experience and food design for consumer well-being?
c.    Food experience design: a cross cultural perspective
d.    What are the other macro and micro factors affecting the food design thinking?
e.    Do these factors and the dynamics vary across the different food cultures?
f.    Does healthy eating related to food design thinking play out differently in a very “pleasurable” Latin food culture like France and a more “visceral” Anglo-Saxon food culture like the US?
g.    What are the policies and marketing actions gastronomic restaurant, marketers, policy makers and other stakeholder can apply to promote design thinking approaches that target food well-being and promote healthy eating behaviors?
h.    Does food well-being differ from well-being?
i.    How should food well-being be measured?

Submission Requirements and Information:

Inquiries can be directed to the special issue co-editors: Wided Batat ([email protected]) and Michela Addis ([email protected]). Submissions should follow the manuscript format guidelines for EJM found here.

All manuscripts should be submitted through the EJM online submission system at


Submissions for this special issue can be made between 1 January 2020 and 28 February 2020.


Addis, M. & Holbrook, M (2019). “From food services to food experiences: eating, wellbeing, and marketing” In Food and Experiential marketing (Ed: Wided Batat), pp: 16-37; Routledge: Interpretative Marketing Research Series: New York.
Batat, W. (2016) “New paths in researching “alternative” consumption and well-being in marketing: alternative food consumption” Marketing Theory, 16(4), 561-561.
Batat, W. (2019) “Food and Experiential marketing” Routledge: Interpretative Marketing Research Series: New York.
Batat, W. Peter, P. Vicdan, H. Manna, et al. (2017) “Alternative Food Consumption (AFC): Idiocentric and Allocentric Factors of Influence among Low Socio-Economic Status (SES) Consumers”, Journal of Marketing Management, 33(7-8), 580-601.
Batat, W., Peter, P. C., Moscato, E. M., Castro, I. A., Chan, S., Chugani, S., & Muldrow, A. (2019). The experiential pleasure of food: A savoring journey to food well-being. Journal of Business Research. Pages 392-399.
Block, L. G., Grier, S. A., Childers, T. L., Davis, B., Ebert, J. E. J., Kumanyika, S., et al. (2011). From nutrients to nurturance: a conceptual introduction to food well- being. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 30, 5–13.
Brown, T. (2008). Design Thinking. Harvard Business Review, June, 84–92.
Buchanen, R. (1992). Wicked problems in Design Thinking. Design Issues, 8(2), 5–21.
Liedtka, J. (2014). Perspective: linking Design Thinking with innovation outcomes through cognitive bias reduction. Journal of Product Innovation Management. ijim.12163.
Lockwood, T. (2010). Design Thinking. Integrating innovation, customer experience, and brand value. NY: Allworth Press.
Norman, D.A, & Verganti, R. (2014). Incremental and radical innovation: design research vs. Technology and meaning change. Design Issues, 1, 78–96.
Olsen, N.V. (2015). Design Thinking and food innovation. Trends in Food Science & technology, 41(2), 182–187.
Scott, M. L., & Vallen, B. (2019). Expanding the Lens of Food Well-Being: An Examination of Contemporary Marketing, Policy, and Practice with an Eye on the Future. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 38(2), 127–135.
Seidel, V. P., & Fixson, S. K. (2013). Adopting design thinking in novice multidisciplinary teams: the application and limits of design methods and reflexive practices. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 30(S1), 19–33.