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Survey: Half of American men say they do the grocery shopping

Published: Sunday, Jan. 30 2011 3:56 a.m. MST

Chris Jensen looks at cheeses while shopping at the Harmons grocery story in Midvale.

Marc Weaver, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Who's the primary grocery shopper in your family? In a new national survey of men, more than half said they were the main grocery shoppers.

"Just doing some shopping for fixing a meal tonight," Blake Judd said at Dick's Market in Bountiful as he browsed the shelves with his son.

This reporter spent time in a couple of local grocery stores and still saw more women than men. But more men are taking up the shopping carts and cooking in the kitchen, and maybe advertisers should take notice.

Judd says he's shopping more these days because his life changed substantially.

"I'm recently unemployed, out looking for work, just in here with my son today," he said.

Many men are out of work, and that can change domestic duties.

A Yahoo survey of American men ages 18 to 64 finds that 51 percent now say they're the primary shoppers for their families.

"I see a lot of fellows going through the stores now," said Bob Norris, shopping at Harmons in Midvale. He's not surprised by the survey results.

"Definitely, I see a lot of guys going around. I bump into them. Gives us time to chat," Norris said with a laugh.

Matthew Loel T. Hepworth is a single dad who says he's always been the main shopper.

"I've always really enjoyed going to the grocery store and picking out the things that I like, and get in and get out quickly," Hepworth said.

While more men may be searching the shelves for sales, fewer than than 25 percent of them think the advertising speaks to their sex. But one Salt Lake advertising expert tells us not to expect a seismic shift in ad focus just because the men say they're the big shoppers.

Todd Wolfenbarger, president of The Summit Group, is skeptical about what the survey reveals. Men, he points out, are typically eager to claim credit for family chores.

"If it were in fact true that men were doing a majority of the shopping in grocery stores today, marketers will get there fast, they won't wait," Wolfenbarger said.

He believes advertisers are pretty sure women still call most shots in the supermarket.

"I don't mean 51 to 49 percent, I mean in the 80 percent range, women are still CEOs in the house with that decision," he said. "They are the people influencing and making the decisions."

Back in the store, Blake Judd says the ads don't really sway him that much anyway.

"I find what I need and need for my family," he said.

The advertising expert says only when marketers see it and believe it will the ads start to target men more specifically.

e-mail: jboal@desnews.com

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