Tracking the Emotional Side of Grilling

Articles
May 28, 2010

Tracking the Emotional Side of Grilling

Unless you procrastinate, you’ve probably seen plenty of jammed supermarket parking lots in the run-up to Memorial Day, the time when (some) dads swagger to the grill, don their chef hats and ‘Kiss the Cook’ t-shirts.

Unless you procrastinate, you’ve probably seen plenty of jammed supermarket parking lots in the run-up to Memorial Day, the time when (some) dads swagger to the grill, don their chef hats and ‘Kiss the Cook’ t-shirts. After a restive winter, dads are on the backyard prowl applying high heat to raw meat.

Moms roll their eyes, because they’re often the ones shopping, marinating, inviting friends, setting the tables – and then allowing dads to hear kudos for their ‘cooking.’ So it is likely that a new software tool that identifies where people love and hate to buy their burgers, beer and more reflects insights into both genders.

Most loved: Costco. Close runner-up: Whole Foods. Least liked:  Walmart.  Dispassionate about Kroger and Safeway.

The ConsumerBase tool, of course, has far broader applications. Called the Brand Passion Index from NetBase, it measures the intensity of consumer passion for brands expressed in social media. The company claims it “reads and understands what people are saying online, and surfaces the likes and dislikes as well as the emotions and behaviors associated with brands.”

To generate the index, which will appear monthly on the NetBase blog, the tool “reads online conversations and extracts meaning from them….The combination of passion level and amount of chatter determines the involvement level,” the company stated. It’s first assignment was the buy-in for Memorial Day, but different brands in different categories will emerge each month.

The Lempert Report also conducted its own Quick Poll during the lead-in to Memorial Day. We asked what people will be serving this weekend. No single food item garnered as high as a 60% rate of mention. But the Top 5 items that were all named by a majority of respondents were: hamburgers 56%; beans, corn and mixed green salad, 54%; and chicken, 53%.

Perhaps a sign of the recession:  pricier items such as ribs, steak, shrimp and fish logged in the 13th to 16th slots with 24% to 18% rates of mention.

Last on our list were veggie burgers, veggie dogs, tofu dogs and tofu burgers – suggesting that even staunch health enthusiasts can ‘give it a rest’ and carve out a place for other foods when the grill is hot.