Research project, ECAL 2017


The Sausage of the Future

Can we count on the sausage to provide a solution, in order to reduce the consumption of meat? And can the use of new ingredients increase the diversity of our diets? Can the sausage make a considerable contribution to a sustainable food culture? To answer these questions, a chef of molecular gastronomy, a master butcher and a designer have teamed up to look into sausage production techniques and potential new ingredients – such as insects, nuts, and legumes – to reinvent the sausage of the future.

The final publication Sausage of the Future takes the reader on a journey through all the building blocks of a sausage. It stops along the way to explore issues like moistness, flavoring, glue, and preservation. The publication catalogues different types of sausages and presents lesser-known ingredients, carefully selected for their potential regarding the future. In our days, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), we are facing a serious shortage of protein-rich-food. The reason is the overconsumption of animal products. Meat, in particular, will be scarce: thus, we need alternatives.

The sausage is one of mankind’s first-ever designed food items. A paragon of efficient butchery, it was originally designed to make the most of animal protein in times of scarcity. With its wide variety of sizes and its endless choice of possible fillings, the sausage offers itself again to take a pioneering role. This time, not only to make the most of animal protein, but to be a shell for all kinds of nutrition.

Main applicant
Carolien Niebling (project leader)

Research team
Luc Bergeron
Thilo Alex Brunner
Alexis Georgacopoulos
Anniina Koivu

Gabriel Serero
Herman ter Weele 

Graphic design and illustrations
Helge Hjorth Bentsen
Olli Hirvonen

Emile Barret
Noortje Knulst
Jonas Marguet

Supported by 
ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne

Carolien Niebling, The Sausage of the Future, Zurich: Lars Müller Publishers, 2017.

Design Parade, Hyères, Villa Noailles, June 30 – Sept 24, 2017.
Hublot Design Miami, Miami, December 7, 2017.
The Sausage of the Future, Milan, SaloneSatellite, April 4–9, 2017.
WantedDesign, Brooklyn, May 17–21, 2018.
Design Parade, Hyères, Villa Noailles, June 29 – September 23, 2018.
Dutch Design Week, Eindhoven, Strijp, October 20 – 28, 2018.
Food Revolution 5.0, Winterthur, Gewerbemuseum, December 2, 2018 – April 28, 2019
FOOD: Bigger than the plate, London, Victoria and Albert Museum, May 18 – October 10, 2019.
Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival, Milano, Triennale, March 01–November 09, 2019.
Serial Eater, Hornu, CID Grand-Hornu, May 27 – November 29, 2020.
Design Preis Schweiz, Langenthal, November 02 – 10, 2019.

Winner of Design Prize Switzerland (Research) – 2019
Winner of Norway’s most beautiful books competition (Nonfiction) – 2018
Silver Hare (second prize) in Hochparterre’s Die Besten (design and research category) – 2017
Winner of Hublot Design Prize – 2017
Winner of Design Parade Hyères Grand Prix at Villa Noailles – 2017

Penelope Vaglini, The Future Sausage, lofficielitalia.com, 11 mai 2017
Phillip Löwe, Wurst case scenario, Spiegel.de, 10 avril 2017
Emma Rawson, In search of the missing link: Tasting the future of sausage with Carolien Niebling, thisNZlife.co.nz, 12 Septembre 2019
Daphne Milner, Designer Carolien Niebling wants you to meet the meat we eat, itsnicethat.com, 25 Avril 2018
Spencer Bailey, How the Sausage Is Made, Literally, surfacemag.com, 30 décembre 2017
Alexander Kühn, Die Wurst der Zukunft, tagesanzeiger.ch, 7 décembre 2017
Dutch food designer Carolien Niebling on why the future of food might not be fake meat or veganism, but sausages, idealog.co.nz, 22 août 2019
Katharine Schwab, The Sausage Gets A Radical Redesign, Fastcompany.com, 4 juillet 2017
Sofia Lekka Angelopoulou, the future sausage by carolien niebling wins the design prize switzerland 2019, designboom.com, 2 novembre 2019
Ali Morris, Alternatives for meat consumption to be explored by ECAL during Milan design week, dezeen.com, 29 mars 2017

And the day after? lecture, TEDxGeneva, Geneva, March 22, 2018
Semi-Permanent, lecture, Semi-Permanent, Auckland, August 15, 2019
Design Indaba conference, lecture, Design Indaba, Cape Town, February 27, 2019
Future of Production, Panel talk, Global Design Forum at V&A, London, September 14, 2019
Sustainability by Design: Innovation for a Circular Economy, Panel talk, Swissnex, San Francisco, January 14, 2020

March 2014 – November 2017

Collage deconstructing a mortadella on a back-ground of a macro image of broccoli, alongside the traditional pork, also broccoli, carrots, romanesco, cauliflower and pistachio nuts. © Emile Barret

Mild liver combined with a tangy and sweet raspberry gel. © Jonas Marguet

© Noortje Knulst

Anatomical Sausage Model: Fruit Salami by Carolien Niebling. ECAL/Younès Klouche