How Many Fish Fingers Fit into a Frying Pan?

Why does a bag of jelly bears include mostly red ones? How large should the ideal slice of ham be? What crunchy sound should chips make in between your teeth? Look under the lid of scientists and designers who define your favourite mouthfuls of tomorrow. From September 5, the Doc Alliance Films portal presents the Austrian film Food Design.

“Man’s desire to design food is what makes us different from all other beings… We’ve all been food designers for thousands of years now,” says the commentary at the beginning of Food Design by Austrian architect and independent artist duo Sonja Stummerer and Martin Hablesreiter. Their film reveals the elaborate system behind food production. It takes us to places where leading producers employ experts who design food that will satisfy all of our senses while being practical and functional at the same time. Only then will we be willing to eat it again and again and give it a chance to survive among the dozens of thousands of new products on the market for at least two more years.
Besides off-screen commentaries, Food Design presents documentary interviews with experts in the fields of gastronomy, marketing, psychology, cultural history, physics and others. Together, they reveal the fascinating chain of causes for our preferences and likes concerning food and drinks. At the same time, they suggest a whole range of connections that are usually out of the scope of our attention; e.g. the mechanism of how the food industry processes natural ingredients, creating complex and frequently bizarre variations, or how it manipulates our food preferences. Beyond these, there is the theme of man’s desire to transform the things that surround him. It is definitely worth a reflection why it is that so many people hate fish and tomatoes but love fish fingers and ketchup; or why over 14 million Kinder Surprise eggs are sold only in Austria each year.
Besides typical illustrative scenes from supermarkets, laboratories, restaurants and other locations related to food production and consumption, the makers of Food Design also focused on stylized imagery. Thanks to a skilful food designer, they have created a whole range of elaborate mosaics and animations presenting food in unexpected, playful contexts. After watching this film, there is no doubt that every kind of food has a story of its own; whether it be established by the long history of food consumption or cleverly crafted by the food industry.
From September 5, you can watch Food Design at


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Doc Alliance is a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.