To ferment is to lodge an eloquent protest against the homogenization of flavours and food experiences now rolling like a great lawn across the globe. It is a declaration of independence from an economy that would much prefer we were all passive consumers of its commodities, rather than creators of unique products expressive of ourselves and the places where we live. Because your sauerkraut will be nothing like mine or anyone else’s.
Fermentation promotes good gut health, reduces food waste, and empowers culinary creativity.
The Brinery solves technical issues associated with common fermentation products.
A pop-up restaurant concept to reframe the narrative
Since most people we interviewed were apprehensive about fermentation, we designed an experiential dining concept to reframe fermentation and introduce the Brinery to our target customer.
It involved three distinct design interactions: Taste, Transformation and Health.
How might we revive fermentation?
Concerned with humanity’s dependence on technology for food security, the increase in global gut health issues, and discovering that fermentation is a great solution for both, we started with wondering how we can revive fermentation.
“Bog butter” is a Nordic butter preservation technique where they bury butter in soil for many months, sometimes years - imparting new flavours and increasing its nutritional benefits.of a div block.
Understand the challenges by fermenting for ourselves
We tried more than 30 different ferments - from maintaining a sourdough starter to fermenting leftover salad and creating naturally carbonated drinks. We had friends taste test our results.
Understanding people’s behaviours towards fermentation
Next, we ran several design experiments to better understand people’s understanding of and behaviours towards fermentation.
Interviews with fermentation experts and extreme users
We went on a research trip to France where we met with food historians, cheesemakers, wine makers, cider makers and an extreme fermentation hobbyist.
Major Reasearch Insights
There’s a growing interest in raw, unpasteurised, probiotic foods but most people are apprehensive to do it themselves.
Fermentation is extremely safe to do at home and should be encouraged as industry is far too regulated to create diverse products.
Even seasoned fermenters feel the products out there could be better as it is mostly DIY and getting it right every time is an art.
Fermenting for beginners is a steep learning curve as it is difficult to know what is happening and why.
How might we make the fermentation process much simpler so that we encourage more people to succeed early on and support them in adopting it?
From our research, it was clear that the main problem was that there aren’t any products specifically designed for fermentation. Beginners give up quickly due to the DIY nature of fermentation.
Specific technical criteria, such as keeping the ferment under the brine and allowing CO2 to escape without allowing O2 in is very difficult to achieve with current tools.