Shopping Pops With Chopping Blocks

Men are shopping more -- and marketers are starting to notice. With the majority of men thinking of themselves as the primary grocery shoppers in their households and simultaneously tripling their amount of time in the kitchen since 1970, it’s becoming clear that we have something big on our hands. While traditional techniques of marketing to grocery shoppers have focused on reaching out to moms and playing up a “dumb dad” stereotype, a shift in culture and gender roles in the home is making it essential for brands to keep up with a growing demographic of domestic men.

What’s driving these shifts? Are men shopping only for themselves, or for their family, too? Are they only doing the grocery shopping or also cooking? To conduct an exploratory survey, we went searching for men who said they cook meals and shop for groceries at least once a month and have live-in children under 18 years old. Two hundred seventy men who fit these criteria stepped up, and what was found really speaks from their hearts.



From the Heart

It’s clear that society is becoming accustomed to a more domestic man. There are more women in the workforce, more stay-at-home dads than ever before, and chores are not necessarily allocated to a specific gender anymore. But this doesn’t explain the more personal reasons behind why dads have started to make the shift.

Plain and simple, they enjoy it. Fifty-eight percent of the dads surveyed told us they cook because they want to provide their families with healthier meals, and 49% said they want to help out with the division of labor at home. Also, almost all of the dads said they cook with their kids in order to teach them culinary skills and spend more time together.

The men were also asked what they were cooking and how. Most dads said they prepare breakfast and dinner, and 57% said they cook simple, everyday stuff, while 23% said they’ve got culinary expertise -- so they’re more Rachael Ray, less Bobby Flay.

Plus, with 64% of dads saying that it makes them feel like a good dad, and 61% saying it makes them feel like a good partner, it’s obvious that dads get a lot of emotional satisfaction from providing the goods and want to have an active role in the health and happiness of their families.

Carpe Hominem!       

There is little chance of cultural regression, so marketers can count on this new type of epicurean dad to develop into a long-standing demographic that will only continue to grow.

The opportunities go far beyond marketing: brands have the chance to gain long-term customers and support dads in making purchasing decisions that benefit both their families and their buyer confidence. Here are a few steps marketers can take to facilitate their success:

  1. Examine the messaging in current marketing strategies. Does it exclude dads or fall short in connecting with them? If so, try including more caring, decision-making dads in advertising.
  2. Provide cooking solutions specially tailored toward dads. Remember: Rachael Ray, not Bobby Flay. Keep it simple, yet delicious and nutritious!
  3. Pique their curiosity about new products. If they think a product will benefit their families, chances are they’ll try it.
  4. Appeal to their emotional side. Use big, in-store messages that highlight performance, reliability and family-friendliness to make them feel like the superdads they are.

While the men included in our survey were dads who cook for their families, it’s not only dads who are taking on culinary responsibilities. With bachelors fending for themselves longer in the real world and more male foodies becoming culinary role models (think Mark Bittman, Jamie Oliver and Anthony Bourdain), Gen Y guys have become curious about the kitchen. And they’re just a few years away from being the next culinary-savvy dads, making it essential to keep an eye on this men-in-the-kitchen trend for the future.

1 comment about "Shopping Pops With Chopping Blocks".
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  1. Janelle James from Fishbone Marketing, December 15, 2011 at 12:52 p.m.

    You are absolutely right that dads deserve respect from marketers too. Thankfully, they are starting to get it. We represent the Dad 2.0 Summit, a conference for top dad bloggers this March is Austin. The interest from brands wanting to reach this influential group has been astounding. Thank-you for this timely article.

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