More Men Take on Grocery Shopping and Cooking

Jun 13, 2002

A growing number of men are assuming the household food-buying responsibility. As more women work full-time, many men are pitching in with weekly grocery trips to rebalance the division of family labor, reports

Half of men who did some food shopping identified themselves as the primary shopper. Eight out of 10 reported cooking dinner at least once a week, according to a survey of 1,200 consumers from the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Prevention magazine. Younger men are especially prone to expanding their role beyond grocery-fetching grunt to recreational gourmet. More than half of Gen-X men who do the shopping cook one to three nights a week, compared with 48 percent of baby boomer men and 32 percent of seniors, FMI research director Janice Jones says.

Some men of all ages also appear to be taking over the task to sample new products and enjoy a respite of sorts. Many comb aisles stockpiling goods to escape work pressures, says Phil Lempert, an author and editor of and RetailWire Brain Trust member. “People, especially men, do it for psychological relaxation,” Mr. Lempert says.

Of course, with a 70 percent majority, women still dominate supermarket shoppers, says C. Britt Beemer, chairman of America’s Research Group in Charleston, S.C. But men are increasing their buying power, he adds. “Over the last five years, those 30 percent of men are spending a little more than they used to compared to female shoppers.”

Moderator Comment: Do supermarkets need to become
more man friendly?

We do not see this as really being a gender issue. There
are a couple of ways, however, that grocery stores could address male shopping
behaviors without turning off the majority of shoppers.

  1. Men may be doing the shopping, but there is often
    an underlying reality. It goes something like this:

    • Men go to the store with a list.

    • Men buy what is on the list.

    • The list is written by a woman.

  2. Men like to stock up. Find out items that sell well
    in bulk and stock them.

    Example, film and battery sales are fairly strong
    in warehouse clubs. It has been a long time since we purchased a single
    roll or film. That may be why we haven’t made a film purchase at a supermarket
    (even though our processing is done there) for quite some time.

  3. Men like to stock up. Offer multiple item purchasing
    for discounts. The resident cleanik here loves the antibacterial cleaning
    wipes. The local supermarket would gain points for cutting us a break when
    we buy 12 containers every two weeks, instead of charging us the same as consumers
    buying in ones and twos.

Anderson – Moderator

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