ADM Futures of FoodADM Futures of Food
ADM Futures of Food
From Food Science Fact to Food Design Fiction
ADVERTISEMENTDESIGN FICTIONEXPERIENCE DESIGNFUTURES ARTIFACTFUTURES DESIGNMARKETING/COMMSPRODUCT DESIGNVIDEO PRODUCTION ARTIFACTSOTHER
AIARTIFACTSARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCEFOODFUTURESPROTOTYPES
Vending machine from a possible future.
With research and development in food science what are ways ADM can contribute to providing healthful, nutrient-rich food. How might tastes trends, consumer expectations, and parametrics based on body states be represented in a vending machine from a possible food future?

Project Summary

ADM, a global leader in the agribusiness sector, was looking for ways to showcase their research and development in low-carbon impact food science. ADM's Marketing & Communications Team partnered with Near Future Laboratory to conduct a comprehensive interview series with their Chief Scientists and a team of food science experts so as to imagine ways to translate their analytic work into some forms that would be grounded, legible, and relatable to the general public.

Client: ADM

Team: Near Future Laboratory

Client URL: https://www.adm.com/en-us/

Project Type: ADVERTISEMENTDESIGN FICTIONEXPERIENCE DESIGNFUTURES ARTIFACTFUTURES DESIGNMARKETING/COMMSPRODUCT DESIGNVIDEO PRODUCTION

Project Semantic Tags: AIARTIFACTSARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCEFOODFUTURESPROTOTYPES

Project Year: 2022

Project Duration: 12 Weeks

Published On: Aug 12, 2022, 14:12:11 PDT

Updated On: Oct 3, 2023, 10:57:31 PDT

Written By: Julian Bleecker

The Project

ADM's Marketing & Communications team commissioned Near Future Laboratory to conduct a series of interviews with their Chief Scientists and their temas of food science experts to represent their work on future food processes and primary ingredients and the implications of global needs and constraints using Design Fiction.

The overall objective was to develop reputational awareness, and develop several concepts for activations and communications programs, including: A series of possible storyboards for print and video communications; prototype food packaging designs; concept products that were proposed for actual short-run development to be used for communicating to internal stakeholders (food from the future); store signage to be used at a proposed OmegaMart-like 'pop-up' location; vending machine designs proposed for manufacturing & development for use at trade events; future food product packaging and descriptions to be used for 'haul video' style influencer presentations.

The Outcomes

This collaboration aimed to highlight ADM's efforts in pioneering future food processes and ingredients through the lens of Design Fiction.

ADM's Chief Scientists and team members sensed the value of this approach to making their often terse and highly analytic work tangible and relatable, elevating their own abilities to communicate their important research to a wider, more general audience.

Additionally, ADM Marketing & Communications was able to help communicate ADM's R&D thought-leadership and reflect the important science of low-carbon impact ingredients manufacturing, processing and logistics that they were working on in order to position themselves as forward-thinking and environmental sustainability oriented.

With Near Future Laboratory bringing a Design Fiction approach to translating their work, ADM found a compelling and grounded way to present the important work that was going on in their expansive network of research and development in a tangible form that could be a vivid reflection of the real on-the-ground work they were doing to address and mitigate global food and hunger challenges.

The final outcomes for this project was determined to be to develop assets that illustrates ADM's vision for the future of food that amplifies the key strategic growth pillars of personalized nutrition and sustainability (low emission manufacturing, processing, logistics and packaging). The video was developed by a 3rd party based on a brief from Near Future Laboratory derived from the workshops, discussions, concept development and ultimately successfully highlighted ADM's role in providing solutions to the nutrition and sustainability demands and expectations of consumers symbolized by a vending machine from the future.

This project was valued for achieving tangible outcomes that significantly boosted the brand's visibility and reputation, especially important given ADM's position as a B2B entity rather than a direct-to-consumer brand.

The creation of communication materials and the development of innovative concept prototypes not only showcased ADM's forward-thinking approach to food science and sustainability but also enhanced the company's reputation within and beyond its traditional industry contexts. (ADM provides ingredients to food processors and manufacturers and thus has limited consumer awareness.)

This initiative offered ADM's Chief Scientists and their teams an unique and creative platform to communicate their groundbreaking work, extending their reach beyond scientific circles into more mainstream, public forums.

The project's exploration of novel communication channels, such as the creative use of 'pop-ups' and the engagement with the 'haul video' trend on platforms like Instagram and TikTok, introduced ADM's Marketing & Communications teams to new forms of engagement beyond linear media buys.

This strategic approach not only amplified ADM's thought leadership in addressing global food challenges but also demonstrated the potential of innovative communication strategies in enhancing corporate reputation and public engagement in the scientific discourse.

Additionally, as with most of our projects, the value was also contained in the augmentation of rich, although highly analytic qualitative and quantitative research data. Near Future Laboratory was able to provide this augmentation through Design Fiction, representing the data in the form of the kinds of tangible artifacts — products, services, customer experiences — that are implied by the gathered data. These Design Fiction artifacts are speculative designed objects that represent a possible end-point to the felt needs expressed in the data, the conversations and subjective assessments, and thematics of the research interviews. Our perspective is that organizations typically represent the 'implications' of research, anthropological studies, surveys and other analysis with prose-based explications at best and tables of data, graphs, and quantitative assessments in the typical case. While these kinds of summarizations are expected and considered hygiene for research studies, they can over-index on the analytic character of the research. By showing leadership and other stakeholders a representation and translation of tables of data or summaries of surveys in a visceral and tangible fashion, we were able to augment the analysis and thereby bring a felt sense of the implications.
With research and development in food science what are ways ADM can contribute to providing healthful, nutrient-rich food. What might the future of food look and taste like? We created concepted a line of biscuits from the future that represented ADM's work on food science, alternative ingredients with low carbon impact on the entire food harvesting, processing, and distribution chain.
Biscuits from an ADM Food Fuutre

The Brief

ADM and their communications partner Edelman approached Near Future Laboratory to help them explore opportunities to develop assets that could contribute to a reputational awareness campaign.

The Process

Near Future Laboratory proposed focusing on the R&D work that was being conducted within the R&D and Food Science laboratories at AMD. We develp a series of Design Fiction workshops with their Chief Scientist and research leads to travel into possible futures in which their primary research was now implicated in the consumer food marketplace through various products we might see in the future, and how these products might be represented in quotidian archetypes. Besides the ‘science’ of future food ingredients, what might the implications of their research look like in normal, ordinary, everyday terms. How would the products be represented in advertising? What characteristics of the food science would be explicated in packaging design, and how? What benefits to health and wellness would need to be translated in such a way as to communicate to the marketplace?

This led to providing a wide range of contexts by which the analytic characteristics of the food science could be represented in a compelling, consumer-first form and the kinds of stories that could be told that would generate reputational value to ADM.

Vending machine art

Deliverables

We developed a series of possible storyboards for print and video communications, prototype food packaging designs, concept products that were proposed for actual short-run development to be used for communicating to internal stakeholders (‘food from the future’), store signage to be used at a proposed ‘pop-up’ location, vending machine designs proposed for manufacturing & development for use at trade events, future food product packaging and descriptions to be used for ‘haul video’ style influencer presentations.

Diorama of an installation proposal for a vending machine for a MeowWolf-like pop-up store/activation
Machine. Diorama concept rendering and proposal for a vending machine for a MeowWolf-like pop-up installation/activation.
Diorama of an installation proposal for a vending machine for a MeowWolf-like pop-up store/activation
Machine. Diorama concept rendering and proposal for a vending machine for a MeowWolf-like pop-up installation/activation.
Diorama of an installation proposal for a vending machine for a MeowWolf-like pop-up store/activation
Machine. Diorama concept rendering and proposal for a vending machine for a MeowWolf-like pop-up installation/activation.
Machine Buttons. Translating research about future foods, ingredients, developments in food science, and consumer trends. We took all the research and used Design Fiction to imagine and create a vending machine for a MeowWolf-like pop-up installation/activation.
Machine Buttons. Translating research about future foods, ingredients, developments in food science, and consumer trends. We took all the research and used Design Fiction to imagine and create a vending machine for a MeowWolf-like pop-up installation/activation.
Machine Buttons. Translating research about future foods, ingredients, developments in food science, and consumer trends. We took all the research and used Design Fiction to imagine and create a vending machine for a MeowWolf-like pop-up installation/activation.
Machine Buttons. Translating research about future foods, ingredients, developments in food science, and consumer trends. We took all the research and used Design Fiction to imagine and create a vending machine for a MeowWolf-like pop-up installation/activation.
Machine Buttons. Translating research about future foods, ingredients, developments in food science, and consumer trends. We took all the research and used Design Fiction to imagine and create a vending machine for a MeowWolf-like pop-up installation/activation.
Machine Buttons. Translating research about future foods, ingredients, developments in food science, and consumer trends. We took all the research and used Design Fiction to imagine and create a vending machine for a MeowWolf-like pop-up installation/activation.
Machine Buttons. Translating research about future foods, ingredients, developments in food science, and consumer trends. We took all the research and used Design Fiction to imagine and create a vending machine for a MeowWolf-like pop-up installation/activation.
Machine Buttons. Translating research about future foods, ingredients, developments in food science, and consumer trends. We took all the research and used Design Fiction to imagine and create a vending machine for a MeowWolf-like pop-up installation/activation.
Machine Buttons. Translating research about future foods, ingredients, developments in food science, and consumer trends. We took all the research and used Design Fiction to imagine and create a vending machine for a MeowWolf-like pop-up installation/activation.
Machine Buttons. Translating research about future foods, ingredients, developments in food science, and consumer trends. We took all the research and used Design Fiction to imagine and create a vending machine for a MeowWolf-like pop-up installation/activation.
Machine Buttons. Translating research about future foods, ingredients, developments in food science, and consumer trends. We took all the research and used Design Fiction to imagine and create a vending machine for a MeowWolf-like pop-up installation/activation.
Machine Buttons. Translating research about future foods, ingredients, developments in food science, and consumer trends. We took all the research and used Design Fiction to imagine and create a vending machine for a MeowWolf-like pop-up installation/activation.
Machine Buttons. Translating research about future foods, ingredients, developments in food science, and consumer trends. We took all the research and used Design Fiction to imagine and create a vending machine for a MeowWolf-like pop-up installation/activation.
Vending machine from the future concepts
King Vend-o-Verse 3200 MkIV UX

The Artifact

Several artifacts were concepted for development for a variety of potential communications channels. The Machine — a conceptual vending machine that formulates food & beverages based on personal specifications defined by characteristics such as ‘Recharge’, ‘Ride’, ‘Calm’, ‘Imagination’, ‘Savory’, ‘Intuition’, ‘Get Well’, ‘Resolve’, ‘Wind Down’. Additionally, by integrating personal data analytics, machines would forumlate based on additional parameters based on health and wellness needs.

ADM and Edelman settled on this concept and integrated it into a series of video-based media campaigns in the fall of 2022.

Vending Machine Concept Rendering
Future food concept vending machine for development and installation.
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