Guys Show Their Muscle As Buyers of Groceries

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Chalk it up to primitive instinct.

Contrary to modern stereotypes, more men than women find food shopping fun, according to a study for Food & Wine by Shifrin Research, New York.

The survey found that 61% of men who help buy and prepare food-about 30% of the U.S. adult male population-actually enjoy shopping for groceries. But only 49% of women in the same category feel the same.

Men are also more likely to be key buyers and decisionmakers when it comes to food and cooking than the general public believes.

In many selected food categories-from coffee and chocolates to cold cuts and seafood-the scores of male epicures (those who help buy and prepare food) were nearly identical to those of females when it came to whether the consumer had purchased a product in the past three months or planned to purchase it in the near future.

Food & Wine considers the male epicure the silent consumer because most major food marketers ignore men completely, believing women dominate food buying decisions.

The study focused on 30 different food categories as well as 23 non-food categories.

"It doesn't say that in every category men are more important in purchasing decisions, but it does say, `Hey, don't write men off,'*" said Cheryl Wilbur, Food & Wine director of sales development and research.

"Marketers knew men were getting more involved in food, wine and entertaining. But marketers needed to see evidence that men were making purchasing and brand decisions," Ms. Wilbur said.

The survey, done in February and March, was based on in-person interviews of 800 people ages 25 to 54, and covered food, cooking, entertaining, dining and wine.

The sample included 600 men, and that portion had an error rate of 3 percentage points. One hundred women and 100 male Food & Wine subscribers were also included, results that had an error rate of 8 points.M

Emily DeNitto coordinates Grocery Retailing News.

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