Grocery stores are adapting to more male shoppers
More men are heading to the supermarket these days.
That’s according to a new survey by Men’s Health, which found that 84 percent of men are now the primary grocery shoppers in their households, marking a 19 percent increase from a decade ago.
The results “challenge many stereotypes related to food shopping and cooking,” said Chris Peel, publisher of Men’s Health. “Men have an active role in each stage of the food purchasing process – before getting to the store, while there and when cooking the food they’ve bought.”
It is worth noting that Men’s Health surveyed only men. Other surveys of 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 percent of U.S. households, while market research firm Videomining puts that figure at about 49 percent of shoppers.
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 behavioral research firm. Nearly half of those surveyed by Men’s Health, for example, said they’d watched cooking videos in the past year.
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.”
Case in point: Women are most likely to buy 12-packs of beer, while men typically buy 6-packs, according to Underhill.
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.
“Remember: Many male shoppers come to the store without a weekly or even same-day meal plan in mind,” Kellogg’s said in a 2015 report. “Consider organizing aisles and displays around shopper missions, like ‘lunch box essentials’ or ‘tonight’s dinner,’ and calling out these sections with clear signage so the male shopper can quickly find what he is looking for.”
Other chains have begun making smaller changes: Grouping meats and barbecue sauce together, for instance, Underhill said.