Grocery stores are not just for Ladies anymore! According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 41 percent of meals made at home are prepared by men and more and more men are taking over as the primary household grocery shoppers. Long gone are the days of June Cleaver as the primary customers for grocery stores. Men are increasingly taking over food shopping and becoming responsible for their families nutritional intake. In 2011, 30-50 percent of men were the primary grocery shoppers for their households.
Since men and women are so different in their shopping techniques, perhaps we need a Mars side of the grocery store and a Venus side. Seriously, there is a new term out there “man aisles.” Procter & Gamble began testing “man aisles” in 2009 and you will now find them in Walmart, Target and Walgreens. Man aisles are arranged by gender, for example rather than navigating down the soap aisle, the shampoo aisle and lotion aisle trying to find man products, in man aisles they are all grouped together.
Apparently, P&G’s focus groups suggested that men have little patience weaving through contingents of women’s, babies and teenage girls’ products to search out the mail product counterparts. It’s the time factor! Once other finding is that men aren’t as likely to ask for help finding things but are more inclined to go through the store a second time to make sure they didn’t miss any important items – kinda like navigating, they never ask for help. Some guys call it surfing – cause they don’t do “lists.” So listen up men, here are the top five convenient “must haves” for that healthy male diet that are easy to surf for in the grocery store.
Bread is a must have – breads are usually found by the produce section. Whenever you can, buy bread that says 100 percent whole wheat. If you can’t go through the whole loaf, or package of sandwich buns, freeze half of them.
Cans of soup – Not only are these great meals for one, but they can also provide delicious sauces for guys who like to customize and add their own personal touches to a meal. Have fat free cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, French onion and tomato soups on hand. You can embellish them by adding frozen or fresh veggies, or topping with green onions, fat-free sour cream, freshly shredded Parmesan, etc. Make soup a meal by grilling a slice of whole-grain cheese bread, or serving a roll or whole-grain crackers on the side.
Pasta – If you use fresh packaged pasta or tortellini/ravioli, boil what you need and freeze the rest. For easy sauces, try bottle marinara, store-bought pesto, or just a drizzle of flavored olive oil and some shredded Parmesan.
Salad – Those triple-washed bags o’ salad make salads a cinch! Buy a bag of the spinach or romaine salad greens for the most nutrition, then add any or all of the following to make a hardy meal:
- Dried fruit
- Roasted nuts
- Fruit: try fresh berries or pears, or a can of mandarin oranges
- Ready-to-go veggies like cherry or grape tomatoes; sugar snap peas; sliced, shredded or baby carrots; or slice up some cucumber, zucchini or bell pepper
- Canned beans (kidney, black or garbanzo). Just rinse and sprinkle them on top. You can even buy 8 ounce cans, the perfect size for a single serving
- Water-packed tuna. Just open a can, drain the excess water, flake and toss it in
- Cooked shrimp. Get them in the frozen section or buy fresh from a grocery you trust
- Sliced turkey, roast beef or roasted chicken from a nearby deli or supermarket deli
Dairy – All dairy products are genderless and found in one place. Stock your refrigerator with milk, Greek yogurt and cheeses (sometimes specialty cheeses are found by the meat).
There is still much to be learned about the emerging male shopper, but it is certain that with increasing buying power, in his own time, on his own terms, the Mars side of the store will get bigger!