What Men Really Need in the Grocery Store

Discovering the key to the male shoppers heart will yield mutually healthy returns
Photograph: Shutterstock

Men are now shopping in-store more than women, which illustrates  he importance of appealing to today’s male shopper. Meanwhile Gen Z and millennials lead in online grocery shoppers and have kids, live in cities and have a household income of more than $100,000. A grocer’s key to success in attracting these important shoppers is all about ease and convenience.

Four out of 10 males (41%) say they do “all or almost all of the grocery shopping in their household,” which equates to more than 40 million households; just 16% of these are one-person households, according to The New Grocery Shopper report from Port Washington, N.Y.-based The NPD Group. “It’s not just younger males shopping, it’s also men over 55 who have different needs and motivations,” Darren Seifer, food and beverage industry analyst for NPD, said in the report.

The comparison to women’s food shopping habits is inevitable, as 28% of U.S. household primary shoppers who are women shop two to three times a week, while the same is true for 36% of males. We could write thousands of words hypothesizing on why the male shopper frequency is higher, but the why isn’t important. What is important is that they come to your store more frequently, and how you treat them will make a difference.

That brings us to another key to attracting the male shopper: health and wellness. The reality is that men die 5.2 years earlier than women; get three times as many heart attacks before age 64; and get diabetes at a lower BMI. Men are interested in nutrition, food and health—and changing their outcomes.

Many of the retail dietitians in our stores have already developed programs to help educate their male shoppers. One idea is nutritional outreach through store tours, which give male shoppers better bearings on smart, appropriate food and beverage choices for their specific household needs (for example, boomers with cardiovascular disease or millennials with kids). Health screening events in your stores that include tests for prostate cancer, glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol are also of value to the male shopper. The National Center for Health Statistics (part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reports that women are 33% more likely than men to visit the doctor and have annual exams, so offer these screenings to reinforce the ease and convenience of your store.

Nutrition for men is about food as fuel, strength, stamina and testosterone—not necessarily food as “better-for-you” or “healthful.” Men care about products with protein, vitamins and minerals and fiber, as well as products that are sugar- and gluten-free. And now we can add plant-based to the list.

A Consumer Survey on Plant Alternatives to Meat recently published by the International Food Information Council, Washington, D.C., reports that less men (59%) described themselves as omnivores than women (73%). The survey included 1,000 adult interviews and was weighted to insure proportional results. The survey also found an increase in male propensity for adding fish to their diets, while women exhibited less. Men also reported almost a 10-point higher trial in eating a plant-based alternative to animal meat.

There is only one way to state it: Want more male shoppers? Lead with health and wellness.


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