Groom stores for the new manscape
Dads get their due on Father’s Day—but it’s time that retailers and CPG brands focus smartly on the year-round shopping, cooking and household responsibilities of dads today.
Dads are light-years evolved from Michael Keaton’s role as displaced executive Mr. Mom in the 1983 film. High unemployment gave millions of American men domestic duties lately, and dads have taken to it. They meet these tasks typically wanting to eat healthfully and well, and with a passion for cooking, and the technical skills to shop efficiently and find deals.
They’re not the emotional surrogates of moms—stores and brands will gain when they smoothly blend ‘man-think’ with the growing roles at home. F3 feels this is a must because dads today influence purchase decisions and the way food is consumed in America’s changing households.
While dads are more comfortable with this than prior generations, not everyone is. “It’s no coincidence that 82% of first-time dads [whose oldest child is 2 or younger] feel they share childcare responsibilities evenly with their partners—yet the exact same amount feels that a societal bias against dads exists,” says Shawn Bean, executive editor, Parenting magazine, which along with sister publications Babytalk and Conceive, and Edelman PR, released research findings at the annual Dad 2.0 blogger summit this spring.
Dads assume sole responsibility for several household tasks, most notably those related to feeding their families, the study found. A quarter of dads (26%) say they do all of the grocery shopping for their families; 22% say they do all of the cooking. Describing their family role, 31% used the term ‘short-order cook.’ Also, millennial dads are more likely than moms to buy locally grown products, even at higher cost.
Dads are a tougher sell than moms. Six out of ten dads (59%) say they use four or more information sources to help them make purchase decisions, vs. 44% of moms, the study added.
In The Generation X Report, author Jon Miller, director, Longitudinal Study of American Youth at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, says he “was surprised to see how often GenX men shop and cook. Women, particularly married women, are still doing more cooking and shopping. But men are much more involved in these activities than they used to be.”
His latest annual research of 3,000 young adults showed that men grocery shop more than once a week on average, cook about eight meals a week on average, and watch the same amount of TV food shows as women, about four a month. By comparison, married women prepare about 12 meals per week.
Men’s interest in better meal prep can take them beyond TV food shows. For example, Men’s Health hosted its first-ever Cooking School on June 9 in New York City where four prominent chefs taught a one-day seminar on pizza, Spanish Tapas, Spicy Thai and Seasonal American foods to motivated men who paid for the experience.