Lokal Treats

In 2048, the high price of foods from region of the world affected by climate changes forces the last falafel shop in Copenhagen to close its doors. All around the world, climate change has displaced populations and reduced the food production of ingredients like chickpeas that are facing acute shortage. As prices rise, governments have started introducing new measures to regulate access to the food goods affecting their citizens.

To counter these restrictions, Denmark passed a new immigration policy to reintroduce the once cherished exotic tastes to its citizens, the food visa.

Rare natural ingredients are now distributed by embassies to corner stores in the city who then resell these ingredients to the holders of a foreign passport from the food’s country of origin. In this food market, the rest of the locals must purchase their exotic foods directly from those who hold special access to it.

To facilitate these exchanges, we created Lokal Treats – a service that facilitates the exchange of ethnic food items between newly-arrived climate migrants and the locals of Copenhagen.

Through the service, the people in the neighbourhood can go to their corner store to buy and and sell exotic food credits or directly buy traditional dishes from a neighbour’s who has access to those ingredients. At the centre of the system is the neighbourhood’s store who sells the ingredients to the lucky few but also supervises the reselling of the ingredients by the local chefs of the neighbourhood. Inside the stores, the locals can find a kiosk where they buy food from each other depending on the day’s offering.

As the locals start buying from their new neighbours, the service tries to elevate the growing relations between a chef and their regular buyers, letting the buyers ask to be surprised by a chef they trust, to bring small moments of delight to their next transaction. Gradually, as a chef gathers a community of followers around him, Lokal Treats grants him the opportunity to sell a DIY kit to those interested in preparing his recipes at home.

Process

The service was conceptualised through an explorative and iterative process for two and half weeks.

The context of climate migration was extensively researched by consulting experts in climate displacement and in the current refugee crisis as well as by talking with foreigners, locals, corner stores and restaurants in Copenhagen to investigate the effects of immigration on their food habits and businesses. The insight gained was that locals are open to other cultures to the extent that it aligns with their personal aspirations and not so much for a human connection.

We then constructed a future scenario based on this insight gathered from the research. We were intentionally provoking when framing this scenario to make new trends discoverable. From this context, we focussed on an opportunity space for an intervention to meet the needs of the three actors we identified as central players in the shifting food culture of Copenhagen.

  • The local citizen of Copenhagen
  • The newly arrived immigrant
  • The grocery store owner

Prototyping the experience

We quickly prototyped a first version of the experience of a transaction between two customers with the store acting as a facilitator to understand the needs of each actor of the service. In parallel, we set up a booth near grocery stores to invite people to offer to sell their excessive groceries or cooked dishes. Building on the learnings from these sacrificial prototypes, we created a second iteration of the transaction with the needed adjustment and tested it in the field.