By Francis Meert and Mark Mc Donagh
We Are What We Do is a not for profit company that makes positive changes in people’s behaviour; by creating products and services that combat specific social problems, like mental health, global warming and obesity.
Based in London and San Francisco the charitable foundation believe 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 reaction because something is the ‘right thing to do’.
This is achieved by running projects that become social enterprises in their own right and we were lucky to meet We Are What We Do’s creative director Tori Flower to find out about one of their recent award winning projects Box Chicken.
Box Chicken produces cheap and healthy fast food that young people will eat. As kids often ignore healthy eating advice and like hanging out at unhealthy chicken shops We Are What We Do sought to bring a healthy but tasty fast food equivalent directly to them.
Fast-food is very high in salt, sugar and fat so We Are What We Do asked what they could do to get them eating more healthily. Kids just want to have cheap, tasty convenient food and speaking of the health issues that affect many teenagers Flower said they found that a third were overweight, adding: “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.”
The original concept was to make school meals healthier but research showed that school children were still purchasing fast food at lunch and after school. After visiting fast food outlets We Are What We Do found they played a key role in young peoples social lives, as a place to hang out with their friends. The teenagers also told them that fast food must be cheap, quick and tasty and then maybe they will go to that instead. So rather than say no-one eat fast food Box Chicken was created to make it healthier.
Box Chicken is a mobile fast food unit designed to be popular with young people. During the summer the organisation tested its first mobile unit in Forest Gate, East London. This proved to a be a great success and Box Chicken has recently been listed as one of Nesta’s 50 New Radicals for 2014.
The initiative will now be rolled out from Monday 29 September in Tower Hamlets, where Caribbean food will be on the menu. To find out more about We Are What We Do and their other brilliant projects visit their website