Score With New Dad Shoppers

June 29, 2015

Undeniable numbers and high motivation mark the surge of males rolling into food stores. Here’s how to win them over.

Originally published in the weekly e-newsletter, Facts, Figures & the Future.

Male stereotypes grow less relevant each day to supermarkets working to satisfy America’s food-involved households - where men are central to the buying and preparing of healthier, spicier, more adventurous and multicultural home menu choices, says Facts, Figures & The Future (F3).

Three-quarters of males (73.2%) say they’re cooking at home more the past two years - and an even higher proportion (82.6%) feel this experience improves their meal preparation skills, according to the 2015 National Grocers Association-SupermarketGuru Consumer Survey Report. As a result, at last count, 57.6% of consumers state they feel “confident in the kitchen.”

For the millions of guys who grilled this past weekend on Father’s Day, it was a chance to flex their muscles and spread their smoky goodness outdoors. But no longer does barbecue represent the extent of their cooking repertoire. Shop the aisles of your favorite food retailers and housewares shops to see men participating in a different kind of provider role they increasingly savor, notes F3

This transformation continues today. Since men suffered the shock of 82% of job losses in the recession, employment opportunities in government, construction and other largely male sectors continue to shrink. One result: men now comprise 41% of all primary grocery shoppers, says NPD Group. This figure is higher among dads - 80% “primary or shared grocery shopping responsibility” among Millennial dads and 45% among all dads, says a new Young & Rubicam (Y&R) study, Who’s Your Daddy. A few perks: Dads are more brand-loyal and less frugal than moms, adds Y&R.

Therefore, says F3, supermarkets should prioritize keeping men from choosing convenience, drug, club and online channels that save time as men evolve in their domestic roles.  

The latest available Census Bureau data show that 24.7 million dads are part of married-couple families with children younger than 18, that 18% of preschoolers are regularly cared for by their dads during their mother’s working hours, that the nation now has 211,000 stay-at-home dads who’ve been out of the labor force at least a year primarily so they could care for their family while the wife works outside the home, and that 16% of single parents are men (1.9 million in 2014).

Moreover, a 2013 Bureau issuance shows that of 234,773 male-male unmarried partner households, and 69,552 male-male spouse households, in the U.S. (the most recent 2011 American Community Survey data), 10% include children.

Add to these figures the millions of working dads who telecommute, freelance, or have flexible working arrangements so they can be more present in their families’ lives.  

To earn business from dads, says F3, supermarkets and brands simply need to respect men as shoppers with offers such as these starter thoughts, for example: Foods for male health (seafood rich in zinc and omega-3s, produce loaded with lycopene, nuts for fiber and minerals). Foods for bold tastes (craft beers, spicy, ethnic ingredients). Destination fun (in-store bars, special events for dogs). Employment (career tracks for young Millennial college graduates and work for displaced Boomers).  Time-saving (online orders, home delivery, store pickup options).  As long as upper management executives (who are mostly men) remember how to identify with the everyday needs of this growing core customer base, this shouldn’t be too tough to figure out.