National Editor Tom Karst
National Editor Tom Karst

Much of popular media and numerous advertising messages aren’t kind to men in general and dads in particular.

For proof of how Madison Ave. puts the clown suit on dads, check out Ask Men’s top 10 male-bashing ads.

Because all humor has at least a grain of truth in it, we must acknowledge that some men can be pretty clueless in the kitchen or lost in the finer points of navigating supermarket aisles. But produce marketers should not lump all men in that category.

True, the latest Nielsen statistics show that women have more shopping trips to grocery stores and outspend men by a substantial amount per shipping trip.

 As I stated in a recent story “You have come a long way, buddy, but….”

Given the continuing dominance of women as food shoppers, are men worth even paying attention to? In place of a generic barbershop, the SportsCuts chain has designed its shop  around a sports on TV environment. Of course, a male-theme produce department is a far-fetched idea, indeed, but what is the right perspective on marketing to gender?

I asked the Fresh Produce Discussion Group this question:

Considering that women still dominate grocery shopping, is there any value for produce companies to target men as customers? What produce companies have targeted men in their promotions?

One comment on the Fresh Produce Group thread:

Men are a big part of the produce department. If ladies can’t get out to a grocery store, guess who shops the produce dept. Men today share 50 percent of the chores, since 75 percent of women work. Men today are involved in every aspect of the household. If a man goes through the produce dept, he will buy more fruits and vegetables than a woman. They cook more than their fathers did and they want to try new items. I have noticed since being in the retail produce business men ask many questions regarding certain items in season and want to educate themselves . I would say they are missing the boat if they do not start targeting men.

Another said:

It would be intriguing to see research on what influences a male to purchase vs. a female relative to produce. Based on watching men (including my husband) I am inclined to think convenience (i.e. "grab and go") along with onsite product sampling - one of the things that he loves about shopping at Costco! Not that these elements don't also attract women, but I think guys tend to be mission-driven and therefore like to get "in and out" vs. women who prefer to "shop" when it comes to groceries.

There are ten comments so far, and a great diversity of thought; I really encourage retailers to chime in on this.

Speaking of gender-based marketing, what is the latest on “booth babes” relative to our national produce associations? Are any new rules in place after the controversy last year about “Daisy Dukes” at the PMA show?


Remember this extremely active discussion?

Should PMA (and other produce shows) ban scantily clad "booth babes" from staffing expo booths? Why or why not?

Are there any updates/clarifications to the story from PMA or United Fresh?