What We Do
It’s a crowded marketplace. Here’s how we stand out to help your company and brands thrive and succeed:
Food and beverage research and consulting is not just something we do. It is who we are. Today’s food and beverage culture is evolving and dynamic. Our deep and constant immersion in the marketplace, and with consumers, allows us to not only keep pace with food culture and consumers today but also anticipate where it is headed tomorrow.
Consumers are more empowered, and demanding, than ever before. We help you make sense of the consumer landscape by getting to the why behind consumer behavior. We tailor our approaches to the specific business question at hand and our human-centric approach dissects consumer and shopper culture to reveal breakthrough insights. Our researchers and consultants leverage the power of multiple methodologies and viewpoints to listen to and translate the consumer voice into actionable insights.
You can never fully understand why consumers are changing if you don’t understand how the broader culture they live in is changing. The Hartman Group’s social scientists and analysts have been immersed in the study of consumer culture for over thirty years. We find that culture is embodied in the mundane and the extraordinary; it is evident in many places, and yet it can be hard to pinpoint. At its roots, culture is not simply a collection of artifacts and rituals— culture encompasses the assumptions, meanings, ideals, goals, habits and ways of interpreting the world that a particular community shares. At its essence, culture is the context in which we live our lives. It is the underlying force that determines behavior, constrains choice, shapes desire, defines need, an reveals opportunity.
Our core expertise is focused on what creates and sustains long-term consumer demand for innovative food and beverage products, services and experiences. Our constant contact with consumers puts us in a unique position to interpret the real reasons behind market trends. Based on this collective experience and expertise, we have developed and honed a wide variety of models and frameworks to help clients efficiently and effectively achieve their objectives. These proprietary tools include our World of Wellness segmentation, our Premium Benefits Framework, and many others.
Smart. Client-focused. Nimble. We are a team of social scientists, marketers and business professionals who have spent years challenging common assumptions about consumer culture that impair true understanding of consumer motivations and behaviors. All with one goal in mind: client success.
Let’s talk about how we can make a difference for your business: contact us
How We Do It
We are 100 percent focused on the food and beverage marketplace. Our expertise ranges from how the smallest nuances of product design affect your product’s ability to grow to devising portfolio strategies that maximize sustainable, demand-led growth. We have advised some of the world’s largest food and beverage companies on issues of portfolio management, brand renovation, consumer insights and innovation. Our approach is always highly customized to each client’s strategic interests and corporate culture. We never force-ﬁt stock solutions, as we realize there are many paths to growth. We look forward to helping you ﬁnd yours.
We believe that the consumer should be at the heart of all product, brand and service initiatives undertaken by food companies today. We deploy professional anthropological and statistical techniques to understand the drivers behind how consumers make decisions about food, how they shop for food and how they consume food. Our proprietary tools for consumer understanding include our annual syndicated studies on key topic areas wellness, sustainability, digital food life, etc.); our ongoing retail tracking of upmarket, leading edge trends in food; our Compass database which captures a robust sample of eating occasions (n=over 12,000 annually) to gather nuance around consumption; and our models for strategically segmenting the market according to socioeconomic class, health and wellness lifestyle orientation and specific food approaches
Because of the rapid speed of consumer behavioral change today, innovation is more important than ever. We have an evidence-driven approach to innovation that leverages our Hartman Benefit Framework to identify, develop and optimize opportunities for clients. Based upon a client’s equities and guardrails, we can create and evaluate new ideas through a rapid iteration process that connects marketplace demand to viable products and services. Clients emerge from our process with concepts that are on-trend, differentiated and in alignment with their innovation goals.
The Hartman Group understands where and how cultural trends start, how to identify the sites of innovation and how to assess the likelihood of early trends gathering momentum. Our Cultural Analytics Framework is powered by our decades of primary qualitative and quantitative research, is founded in theoretical rigor and allows us to determine which signals will become trends and how these trends will disseminate and affect consumer shopping and eating practices. Inputs for our process are customized based on our clients' needs but typically include tracking of progressive consumers, key informant and expert interviews, quantitative tracking data and social media listening.
We work with clients to identify, create and seize growth opportunities that align with America’s constantly evolving food culture. Our advisory services leverage our three decades of research on eating behavior, consumer demand and business strategy and allow clients to capitalize on both current and emerging market demand. Our core capabilities include corporate innovation strategy; portfolio and brand strategy, investment guidance on early-stage food and beverage companies; and scenario building using our proprietary Future of Food model to understand how to succeed in today’s evolving marketplace.
We creatively combine our tools and analytic expertise in unique ways for every project. We invite you to take a look at a few of these for inspiration, and we look forward to crafting something that specifically fits your situation and business objectives.
The Hartman Group gets you close to consumers. We utilize an assortment of qualitative techniques and tools including in-person interviews, language mapping to determine optimal semiotics in messaging and communications, visual journals to capture consumer behavior as it happens, in-home pantry and refrigerator tours to examine the realities of brand preferences and purchase behaviors as well as shop-n-talk tours to observe in-store shopping dynamics. Our qualitative methods rely heavily on ethnographic research tools to bring insights to life.
The Hartman Group designs custom research hand-in-hand with our clients to establish a robust foundation from which to build marketing strategies, and track shifts in consumer demographics, opinions, behaviors, usage, and shopping/purchasing patterns. Through online surveys of nationally representative sample sizes and quotas to meet client demographic group needs, we get answers to questions about consumers, competitors and markets so clients can better understand trends and growth opportunities. Our quantitative capabilities run the gamut from attitudes and usage studies to segmentations, conjoint analyses, TURF studies and perceptual mapping.
Knowing the cultural positioning of your brands in their categories is critical to charting growth strategies. Strategic planning can greatly benefit from a download of food and beverage trends, consumer demand context and strategic advisory from The Hartman Group. Our consulting engagements offer an immersion into the key consumer demand trends affecting your brand and its category. In a collaborative effort between our consultants and your team to understand your key issues, we then look at the key forces in the Future of Food, examine key pockets of sales growth in your category and share with you our proprietary POV on strategic options.
Hartman Retainer Services is a customized consulting service that provides access to all of The Hartman Group’s non-proprietary reports and publications plus access to our analytics team for strategic advisement. Via this partnership, you are connected to a deep well of data, insights and strategy. Each retainer is custom built to optimize our resources and your specific business needs.
Our syndicated research makes your organization smarter without the financial or time investments of custom research. We conduct at least four syndicated studies each year. Advance sponsorship offers the benefit of preferred pricing and the ability to add proprietary questions. Reports may be purchased ad hoc, individually and in bundles.
People do not eat or drink only according to demographics; what they consume is driven by the OCCASION. The Hartman Group’s proprietary Food & Beverage Occasions Compass explores the 5 “W’s” of eating occasions: Who, When, Where, Why and What. Fielded three times a year since 2012, the Compass is populated with 104,000+ adult respondents, reporting 161,000+ adult eating occasions and 35,000+ child eating occasions.
Given the rapidly changing product development landscape, it is imperative that food producers consistently and intentionally develop opportunity platforms and product concepts that respond to the long-term consumer demand drivers. Using a proprietary process, Hartman Group analysts identify growth attributes in the marketplace (mainstream and niche) and combine these attributes into platforms that provide clear direction for new product development. Client guardrails are taken into consideration to ensure that the concepts and products created are operationally optimized.
The Hartman Group’s foresight is delivered via an ecosystem of trends, insights and expertise. Using our Cultural Analytics Framework, which is powered by our decades of primary qualitative and quantitative research, we determine which early signals will become trends and how these trends will disseminate and affect consumer shopping and eating practices. Additionally, our tracking capabilities allow for dynamic on-going monitoring and measuring of the trends to ensure that clients capture opportunities associated with new cultural demand spaces.
We build “Worlds” to understand the whole consumer. Each of these worlds has sets of purchase criteria to leverage in innovation, positioning, marketing and messaging. Unlike demographics-based segmentation schemes which no longer do an adequate job of identifying consumer sentiment and behavior, a given world of activity (e.g., H&W, Sustainability, Organic) is divided into segments with varying intensity of involvement.
Let’s talk about how we can make a difference for your business: contact us
The Future of Food: Trends Presentation & Planning Workshop
Align your thinking with evolving food culture and a changing consumer landscape.
Spend time with The Hartman Group — where the food and beverage industry turns for consumer knowledge,
breakthrough perspectives and strategic guidance.
By harnessing our decades of research on eating behavior, consumer demand and business strategy, The Hartman Group has developed proprietary analytics that break down the key forces of change in food culture, looking at the implications with the objective of helping to guide your investments in the future of food.
Learn more. Download the overview: The Future of Food Sessions