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October 23, 2021

Food marketers taking notice in the rise of male shoppers

Women are known to be the decision makers in the home, which is why many advertisers cater ads for household goods toward them, but times are changing.

Food makers are revamping their packaging towards men in reaction to a growing trend that males are doing more grocery shopping and meal preparation, according to a recent article by the Wall Street Journal.

Companies such as General Mills and Kraft Foods redesigned their product packaging in hopes of attracting a new customer for products they might not normally buy, such as yogurt. They're selling larger portion sizes, using darker-schemed designs with red and black and also using words, such as "ultimate," for the product to appear more manly.

Apparently, many products in grocery stores don't appeal to men, the head of research at Innova Market Insights told the WSJ. "A beer or soda in a long-necked, brown bottle makes a man feel like a man. Drinking out of a straw does not—puckered lips and sunken cheeks are not a good guy look," she says.

A New Zealand dairy company created a brand for men's snacks under the product name of Mammoth Supply Co, with an image of a mammoth too. Some of the snacks under the brand include apple and blueberry yogurt, which is super thick, rum and cola ice cream and iced coffees, according to the New Zealand Herald. The label says, "This is men's yoghurt and you are a man. Now find a spoon, fork or spade and dig in."

A grocery store in New York created a "man aisle" stocked with "manly" essentials such as condoms, steak sauce, deodorant, razors, chips and beer, all in close proximity.

In 2010, 25 per cent of men were the main grocery shoppers in Canadian households, which has increased from 20 per cent in 2006, according to research by the NPD Group.

But it's not just grocery stores that are tuning into the male shopper. Men are garnering greater attention in the fashion industry where the market is expected to continue growing. While overall Canadian clothing sales dropped by 2 per cent to $22.9 billion in 2011, male apparel was up by three per cent, according to data from the NPD Group.

The men's grooming industry was deemed one of the fastest growing beauty segments. Men's toiletry sales are predicted to hit $3.2 billion by 2016, while the U.S. market hit $3 billion in 2012, according to research firm Mintel. Grooming regimes are already popular in Asia with South Korean men spending $495.5 million on skincare products in 2011, which accounted for 21 per cent of sales around the world, according to an article by the Associated Press. Just don't call the toiletries men use makeup, they might take it the wrong way.

There's also been a growing interest of from males in using services offered at salons, such as facials, body treatment or manicures and pedicures, according to Mintel.

As companies race to capture male consumers, first they need to understand  how their shopping differs from their female counterparts. Once they crack that code, it'll open up a whole new ballgame.

How do your shopping habits differ from your partner?

Josephine Lim, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...