Almost Genius: Plates Double as Nutritional Infographics

Could a design like this nudge our behavior toward healthier eating?

Wheel of Nutrition

 Behaviorial economists are gaga for the idea of “nudges”–tiny little hacks that can help people make better decisions. For example: Making 401k’s opt-out rather than opt-in can wildly increase savings rates. Simply moving a salad bar can increase veggie consumption by 250%.


So it makes sense that a dinner-plate design could help us eat a far healthier diet.

Wheel of Nutrition” was designed by two recent design-school grads based in Milan, Rui
and Hafsteinn Juliusson, for HAF, a small company run by Juliusson whose other products include jokey items like the grass knuckles and “chips” made of flavored (zero-calorie) paper.

The porcelain plates are simply lacquered with food groups in the proper proportions for three types of diet: “The Diet,” “Super Size,” and “Extra Ordinary.”

Wheel of Nutrition
Wheel of Nutrition

Unfortunately, you’ll note that except for the “Extra Ordinary” one, the plates aren’t actually designed with much serious intent–the proportions don’t actually show the real nutritional guidelines we should all be following. And the pie chart design doesn’t exactly help things (when’s the last time you had a steak shaped like a triangle?).

But this product is so close to be something with remarkable potential. Why couldn’t there be a better infographic on the front, depicting the food proportions as recommended by nutritionists? Moreover, why couldn’t these infographics be even more subtle, and richer–portraying, for example, the array of colors you should be getting in your food? (Which themselves are correlated with the presence of nutrients and anti-oxidants.)

About the author

Cliff is director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.