BOSTON—The past decade has witnessed a dramatic shift in household responsibilities, and food and beverage marketers might want to take notice of a new survey that found 52% of dads are the primary grocery shopper in the household. Results also found 35% of moms admit dads have had more influence on grocery store purchases over the last few years.
According to the 2012 Cone Communications Year of the Dad Trend Tracker study, more dads are demonstrating a lot of forethought and preparation. They also do their homework before setting foot in the store. Before heading to the grocery store, 63% of dads create a detailed shopping list; 56% collect coupons or read circulars; 52% plan meals for the week ahead of time; and 24% perform background research on grocery products.
"This research goes against all stereotypes of the 'Father Knows Best' dad who doesn't concern himself with domestic responsibilities," said Bill Fleishman, president of Cone Communications. "Marketers need to recognize the growing number of dads in the supermarket aisles who are taking their roles seriously and can benefit from brands who provide tools and shortcuts to make shopping easier."
When asked about their typical grocery shopping experience, 32% of dads said they get in and out as fast as possible buying only what they came for, compared to just 21% of moms. Dads are also less likely than moms (26% versus 30%) to say they get distracted by large in-store displays.
For brands to reach dads, it's important to leverage tried-and-true marketing strategies like advertising and media relations. Dads' top three channels for gathering product- and other grocery-related information are in-store promotions (57%), advertising (50%) and traditional media like newspapers, magazines and television (40%). When looking at all online channels together, 44% of dads seek out online sources for information.
When making purchasing decisions on the spot in-store, coupons play an important role in tipping the scales in favor of one product versus another. After price and quality, dads said the No. 1 purchase influence is a coupon (37%), stronger even than product benefits (20%) or brand name (14%).
"Marketing to the sexes has always been looked at as needing two distinct approaches, but the lines are blurring," Fleishman said. "Roles may be shifting within the household, but we're finding that dads are not acting so differently from moms in their approach to grocery shopping. This is good news for marketers because it means we don't have to rewrite the playbook. By understanding the nuances between them, we can actually use the same strategies to reach the primary grocery shopper in the household, whether it's mom or dad."
Want to know more about dad's favorite food, beverage and foodservice brands? Check out the "Father Knows Best: Dads and Brand Perception" Image Gallery on Food Product Design.