More men shopping for food, and stores have taken note
More men are heading to the supermarket these days.
That’s according to a new survey by Men’s Health, which found that 84 per cent of men are now the primary grocery shoppers in their households, marking a 19 per cent increase from a decade ago.
The results “challenge many gender stereotypes related to food shopping and cooking,” said Chris Peel, publisher of Men’s Health.
It is worth noting that Men’s Health surveyed only men. Other surveys of both men and women have concluded that women continue to do slightly more of the country’s food-buying: NPD Group, for example, estimates that men are the primary grocery shoppers in 41 per cent of U.S. households, while market research firm VideoMining puts that figure at about 49 per cent of shoppers.
In any case, there is mounting evidence that more men are shopping for groceries than in previous generations. And when they do head to the store, men tend to buy many items at once, and shop alone, according to Men’s Health.
The reasons for those shifts are twofold, experts say. Gender roles are shifting, which means men are taking on more household responsibilities. And Americans are increasingly putting off marriage, so “you’ve got a lot of single men who’ve got to shop for themselves,” says David W. Stewart, a marketing professor at Loyola Marymount University.
And it doesn’t hurt that “there’s a younger generation of man who’s actively interested in food,” said Paco Underhill, chief executive of Envirosell, a New York behavioural research firm. Nearly half of those surveyed by Men’s Health, for example, said they’d watched cooking videos in the past year, while 93 per cent said they’d prepared meals for themselves.
But there are still pronounced differences in how men and women approach grocery shopping.
“Men are not terribly strategic,” Stewart said. “They walk in and buy what they remember is needed. They’re buying for right now, or maybe tonight. Anything beyond that is too long-term.”
Men also tend to spring for pricier cuts of meat and are more easily influenced by a brand’s name or reputation, Stewart said. There are more likely to buy what is easily visible and catches their eye.
Grocery store chains have begun making smaller changes: grouping meats and barbecue sauce together, for instance, or displaying wine glasses alongside bottles of wine, Underhill said.