Developing the use of Facebook to share experiences of fish and seafood product consumption

The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns has challenged us to work out how digital, online platforms can support us to carry out design research with stakeholders from a distance. In the Seafood AGE project, we’ve focussed on designing two key research methods to carry out in parallel. These are designed to establish practical feasibility, receptivity and cultural acceptance of  novel circular economy methods used to make the Seafood Age Ready to cook (RTC) fish product. The methods are designed to be delivered with parity and ease of translation across different Atlantic Area regions, and to support older research participants to engage.

The first method we designed was for engaging stakeholders across the ready to cook fish product value chain. See our last report, for how we did it.  The second method is for engaging would-be RTC fish product consumers to reflect on and exchange their thoughts and experiences around fish and seafood product consumption. The insights generated from this method will in turn be fed in to conversations with the stakeholders further upstream. Check out our latest REPORT_20210329_Developing use of facebook to share experiences of fish and seafood product consumption_v1, for how we designed the second method using the structure of a private Facebook ‘social learning group’ as a tool to support engagement.

The rationale for designing the Facebook social learning group builds on key pieces of learning from the work we’ve done to date including to use an accessible, low-threshold platform to support engagement and bring added value for older research participants. The method is designed to do this through conversation and exchange facilitated by us, supported and documented by a private Facebook group. Video conferencing is used in conjunction to carry out the conversation. While having a Facebook account for taking part is ideal, if a participant does not have a Facebook account, we can still use the group together with screen sharing to support and document conversation. If you’re interested in taking part and using our Facebook group to share your experiences of fish and seafood product consumption in conversation with Hayley, our Research Associate, please let her know! She’d love to hear from you. Either email Hayley at h.alter@lancaster.ac.uk or request to join the Facebook group.

Mapping feasibility with stakeholders on Miro: a new prototype research method for Seafood AGE

Our central task in the Seafood Age project is to develop and test prototype co-design research methods for establishing practical feasibility, receptivity and cultural acceptance of the Seafood Age Ready to cook (RTC) fish product and circular economy (CE) methods across RTC value chains in Atlantic Area regions. Through the methods we develop, we want to find out:

  1. What stakeholders see as the opportunities and risks associated with new processes and CE methods, product innovation and development for an older market, fish RTC manufacture and distribution, health, safety and nutrition,
  2. What would they design in and out of them and why?
  3. How do they see new CE methods, processes and so on applied to existing practices and what would be the barriers to application and what would support adoption?

Taking time from stakeholders as busy as those relevant to this work would be challenging at the best of times. Lockdown and social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic further complicates matters. In response, we started with drawing on some of the recent learning on facilitating remote, digital methods documented by fellow co-design researchers in ImaginationLancaster and further afield. Next, we have developed a mapping method using the online platform, Miro. Our intent is to afford ourselves as many strengths of a workshop as possible whilst enabling remote, one-to-one engagement with stakeholders to link, compare and contrast perspectives, and co-construct a picture of feasibility across the value chain. We are developing this method with a view to being translated for use across Atlantic Area regions and their respective markets.

Check out the report for more on our rationale for developing this mapping method, progress being made with it, emerging insights into feasibility of the Seafood Age RTC product in industry, and our next steps.

Seafood AGE workshop with Active Minds at Blackpool Carers

On 13 March 2020, Hayley Alter, Seafood Age Research Associate held a workshop with the Active Minds group at Blackpool Carers designed to explore practices and barriers to eating fish and seafood amongst group members.  Blackpool carers is a charity that supports, trains and brings respite, information and advocacy to people of all ages who care for dependents in the region. Active Minds is a group that meet for weekly sessions for older couples in which one spouse or partner has dementia and the other provides round-the-clock care.

Workshop with the Active Minds Group – Blackpool Carers – 13 March 2020

During the workshop, we used food-tasting and images of fish and seafood products and local places to prompt conversation about the memories, sensations and experiences they associate with eating fish and seafood. We also used a recipe proforma designed to help group members use a fish and seafood recipe they make to describe and exchange wider fish and seafood preparation and eating practices, barriers and how this contrasts with what they did in the past. The report linked below explores emerging insights from the discussion, reflections on the methods used and considerations for development. 

Key to the Seafood Age project is the learning from the workshop that group members rely on frozen, microwaveable and ready-to-eat products but see the ‘processes’ and ‘preservatives’ used in RTE fish and seafood as detrimental to taste, smell, and therefore, nutritional value. As a result, ready to eat fish and seafood products appear to make up a relatively small proportion of their overall diet. By contrast, the extent to which the prototype Seafood Age product will be ‘processed’ will be, in large part, to ensure its nutritional value when consumed. However, the poor perception of nutrition in processed fish and seafood products surfaced in this workshop indicates that a new design consideration for the prototype must be to address this barrier either through product or packaging.


Report on the Workshop with the Active Minds Group

Check out the report for more on the workshop and what we plan to do next.