rheingold has been nominated for ESOMAR’s 2008/09 Excellence Award after presenting its international research project ‘Intimate and Intimidating – Understanding Trends and Patterns in Food and Eating Culture’ at this year’s ESOMAR Qualitative Conference in Istanbul.
The study, which analyzes the dietary habits of consumers in Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Spain, UK and USA, focuses on the duality between dietary ideals and realities, new food trends, cultural differences, food mind states and the resulting opportunities for the food industry.
The nomination by ESOMAR’s international panel of judges represents a commendation of the project’s quality, creativity and innovativeness and relevance for marketing. The final award will be made at the end of ESOMAR 2008/09 season.
The Istanbul conference once more revealed the innovative drive which currently characterises the industry. Qualitative research is becoming increasingly diverse and heterogeneous, with providers experimenting with online tools and ethnographic techniques or combinations of both. Crucial to this, is that qualitative research gets involved or takes on an event character.
But here too, rheingold’s food study has a statement to make. In preparing the study, rheingold implemented online tools to gather factual evidence, documenting eating habits and gathering opinions before probing these in face-to-face interviews. Thus, abridged and rose-tinged online-diary entries supplied by respondents, could be broken down and scrutinized within the framework of rheingoldInterviews™ to reveal points of friction between eating realities and eating ideals. Exploring the contradictions between the dietary ideals documented in the blogs and the realities revealed by the interviews proved to be enormously fruitful (Cover Story <-> Impact story).
It is notable that an ever expanding tool box is available to qualitative researchers. On the one hand, this increases the risk that research loses sight of its actual goal of thoroughly understanding consumers. While on the other, the growing number of possibilities demands an explicit research perspective to improve orientation and ensure that these tools can be meaningfully implemented. From rheingold’s perspective this represents a clear argument for morphological market and media research. This can be neatly summed up as: "nothing is more implementable than a good theory."