A sustainable solution to fast food obsession

Shift Design aims to make positive changes to people’s behaviour through meaningful action and social enterprise. One project, Box Chicken, aims to revolutionise the way young people in London view fast food

Shift Design is a not-for-profit company that makes positive changes in people’s behaviour by creating products and services that combat specific social problems, such as mental health, global warming and obesity.

Based in London and San Francisco, the charitable foundation believes that giving people information is not enough to make them act on it. Instead, they try to facilitate sustainable behavioural change, rather than create a short-term fix.

This is achieved by running projects that become social enterprises in their own right, such as the award-winning project, Box Chicken.

Box Chicken produces cheap and healthy fast food targeted at young people. As some kids often ignore healthy eating advice, preferring to spend their time at unhealthy takeaways, Shift Design sought to bring a healthy but tasty fast food equivalent directly to them. “Poor diet is affecting a lot of people, you can encourage people to do more exercise but you need to do so much that it’s unrealistic,” said Shift Design’s creative director, Tori Flower.

The original concept was to make school meals healthier but research showed that school children were still purchasing fast food at lunchtimes and after school. After visiting fast food outlets, Shift Design found they played a key role in young people’s social lives as a place to hang out with their friends. The teenagers also told them that they wanted food to be cheap, quick and tasty. So rather than discourage fast food, Box Chicken was created to make it healthier.

Box Chicken was listed as one of Nesta’s 50 New Radicals for 2014 tested its first mobile unit in Forest Gate, East London last summer.The initiative is now being rolled out in other locations across London.

This article was written by Francis Meert and Mark McDonagh while taking part in the Big Issue online journalism programme with Poached Creative. To find out more visit their website.

Read it and don’t weep.

Headlines about what’s going right in the world are now being shared with millions of people through digital screens on high streets and in shopping centres all around the UK.