Testing the Single Ideal Assumption Using the Ideal Profile Method (IPM)

Dr. Thierry Worch
Statistician
QI Statistics

Ideal point modeling is a type of multivariate mapping in which consumers are assumed to use internal ideals in their hedonic evaluation of products. In their calculation processes, these techniques typically assume that consumers have a unique ideal for the product set tested. But this assumption is difficult to verify from the liking data alone, and may be violated if different subcategories of products, such as light and dark chocolate, are included in the same experiment. As an alternative, the Ideal Profile Method (IPM) is a sensory methodology in which consumers are asked to rate explicitly the products on both the perceived and ideal intensities on a list of attributes: In an IPM test, the consumers provide a description of their ideals for each product tested. This allows comparing the ideal ratings between consumers, but also between products, the latter being primordial to check for the assumption of a single ideal.

By going through different test cases, we will see how IPM data can be used to check whether consumers have a single or multiple ideals as well as the decisions it implies.