Capture Male Shoppers in their Natural Habitat

Capture Male Shoppers in their Natural Habitat

November 26, 2014

If men look more grizzly than usual this month, they may be short on time - either cleaning at home for Thanksgiving, planning for Christmas guests, grocery shopping, or feeding the kids breakfast. Seasonal demands amp up regular home routines, which men by the millions now see as their responsibilities - creating opportunities for retail dietitians to shape and educate.

Four out of ten males (41%) say they do “all or almost all of the grocery shopping in their household” - more than 40 million households; just 16 percent of these are one-person households, states NPD Group’s The New Grocery Shopper report. “It’s not just younger males shopping, it’s also men over 55 who have different needs and motivations,” notes Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst.

Now’s the time to escalate the male focused efforts to men of different generations and lifestyles – especially at this time of year, when stores rake in 20 percent or more of annual volume and people want to look their best. Consider the gender gap of health between men and women. Men die 5.2 years earlier, get three times as many heart attacks before age 64, get diabetes at a lower BMI, more often than do women. It’s also a misconception that men aren’t interested in health. Men are interested in nutrition, food and health—they just express it differently than women. Targeting men could mean a range of new work, welcoming dietitian led events to earn male trust and enthusiasm.

For instance: 

Offer nutritional outreach with store tours to give male shoppers better bearings on smart, appropriate food and beverage choices for their specific household needs (say, Boomers with cardiovascular issues or Millennials with toddlers). Keep in mind, nutrition for men is about food as fuel, strength, stamina, and testosterone, not necessarily food as “better-for-you” or “healthful.” Consider most men’s gender-specific, culturally-influenced understanding of nutrition.  When stores and brands communicate to men directly and pay attention to their goals and desires, all parties win.

At health screening events in your store that include tests for prostate cancer, glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol, offer follow-up shopping advice.

Cook up and sample prepared foods that men like, since male primary grocery shoppers favor convenience, and “buy foods that require little to no effort” more often than females, observes NPD.

“Younger male grocery shoppers (18-34), who are single and never married before, are most likely to feel that shopping is a chore. These shoppers are more likely to have increased their responsibility over the past 5 years due to a variety of reasons including being on their own for the first time or having money to spend on items they want”, according to NPD. Help these shoppers feel more positive about grocery shopping by providing some key pantry and produce shopping lists as well as related recipes, so they can get what they need conveniently.

“For men who like to shop, the thrill is to see how much they can get for the fewest dollars and to outwit manufacturers. Pre-processed foods are less manly than DIY: guys that grocery shop are mostly too savvy to be manipulated into ponying up a premium price for gussied-up ingredients. Be a man’s ally,” According to John La Puma, MD creator of REFUEL.

Use the Right, Gender-Specific Phrases, Not the Wrong Ones.  For example, if you say, “Are you sure you really want to take home that three pound bag of chips?” He hears, “You are not going to be doing anything I don’t approve of, and I am in charge.” … What to say to him instead: “Crunch is fun. It makes me feel like I’m eating something. Have you ever had jicama?” Another great tip from DR. La Puma.