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CPG/retail industry adjusts as more men shop for groceries

Monday, January 02, 2012  
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As more men become the primary grocery shoppers in their households, the cpg/retail industry is adjusting its marketing efforts, according to a recent report in the Los Angeles Times.

A growing contingent of men are taking over grocery duty, a trend that has been building for decades, according to the report. But as the recession hit men disproportionately, many were left home to manage the household.

The nation's biggest food and personal products manufacturers are taking notice, trying to market products and adjust store layouts to cater to men, the newspaper reported. It's a paradigm shift for the $560-billion retail food industry that has focused marketing and advertising on women, and mothers in particular.

But men ages 18 to 50, including Generation X and Millennials, seem more than happy to do the shopping — or at least tag along, according to the LA Times. According to consumer research firm GfK MRI and an ESPN report, 31 percent of men nationwide were the primary household grocery shoppers in2011, up from 14 percent in 1985.

Meanwhile, a nationwide survey of 1,000 fathers conducted by Yahoo and market research firm DB5 found 51 percent were the primary grocery shoppers in their household. Of that group, 60 percent said they were the primary decision makers regarding consumer package goods, which includes packaged food.

In response, Network of Executive Women foundation sponsor Procter & Gamble Co. began testing "man aisles” in 2009 and is expanding the program into some Walmart, Target and Walgreen stores in the United States and Canada, the newspaper reported. The company found that "many men were terribly uncomfortable with the shopping experience,” according to a spokesperson.

In many stores, men's personal care products were scattered across various aisles, often in subprime locations like a bottom shelf or the end of an aisle. The man aisle puts all men's products, including Procter & Gamble competitors, in one place, with shelf displays and even small TV screens toguide men to the appropriate skin care items. Tests have gone well, with men spending more, according to the report.

NEW foundation sponsor Kraft Foods selected several products to market to men in 2011. Thecompany developed, packaged and marketed MiO, bottles of liquid flavor droplets to make water more enticing. The brand is on track to do more than $100 million in sales its first year, a key new-product benchmark. Kraft Foods also scored with men in 2011 by way of its Philadelphia Cooking Creme, which was displayed near chicken.

"We had a lot of guys who impulsively bought that product, thinking, ‘What can I mix with chicken? I want to try something different,’” a spokesperson told the newspaper.

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