More men are driving the grocery cart; and stores are working to appeal to them

As household chores become more gender-neutral, grocery stores try to appeal more to men.

In recent years, one of the most discussed topics has been the disappearance of specific gender roles. Women are no longer seen as the domestic housewife and men as the breadwinner for the family. According to recent surveys, in today’s day and age, more couples are sharing the chores such as cooking and grocery shopping. Due to current economic struggles, many men have a wife working a hectic schedule with little time to shop or cook; as a result, more men are stepping into the grocery store on a regular basis for the first time in years. A 2012 survey from the media agency, BPN, discovered that 40 percent of men claim to be the primary grocery shopper for their family.

The increase in male grocery shoppers is generating quite a buzz in the local supermarkets. In fact, the presence of males in the grocery store made the list as one of the top 10 food trends for 2013. As more men are becoming frequent customers at neighborhood supermarkets, the stores are working to change the way they market, and trying to be more appealing towards men. Some notable differences in shopping behaviors for men include product selection and moving on to the next item, where women will compare products and take their time. Men are also less likely to use coupons or bring a shopping list compared to women, and therefore, make more impulse purchases. A survey conducted by Kraft Foods in 2013 found that 96 percent of dads cook at least one meal per week.

No matter who is driving the grocery cart, it is important to shop for nutritious food items. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans focus on choosing a variety of foods from each of the five food groups, limiting sodium, total fat and saturated fat; as well as, increasing fruits and vegetables, whole grains, milk and milk products and choose a variety of protein foods. The recommended amount of daily servings from each food group for adults (19-years of age and older) is as follows:

  • Grains: Six to eight servings (make three servings whole grains)
  • Fruits: Two cups
  • Vegetables: 2.5 cups
  • Protein: Five to six ounces (lean protein or fish)
  • Dairy: Three cups (fat-free or low-fat)

To see the exact amounts for each age and sex please visit .

Grocery stores have had to shift focus from the traditional female cliental to appealing to male shoppers. To do this, many grocery stores have changed their language and have started to use gender neutral terms. Many stores are investing in more sampling stations and education sessions such as label reading, shopping tours and highlighting products with health benefits specifically for men. Males are less likely to ask for help in the grocery store and these tools are designed to make men more comfortable in the store.

Whoever does the grocery shopping for the family; it is important to remember to select healthy, nutritious foods from each of the five food groups in order to ensure a well-balanced diet.

For more, read More men are driving the grocery cart from the Star Tribune Lifestyle column.

Michigan State University Extension offers nutrition education classes for adults that discuss choosing healthy options from each food group, shopping on a budget, as well as basic nutrition information. More information can be found at:

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