Yes, Men and Women Grocery Shop Differently—Here’s How
Studies have shown that men grocery shop just as much as women now, but the things they're buying—and how much they're willing to pay for them—is still pretty different.
Throughout modern history, women have been the primary grocery shoppers of America. Today, however, the gender gap on aisle four has been closed. A recent study conducted as part of the Grocery Shopper Impact MegaStudy shows that men make up 49 percent of grocery shoppers, the highest percentage in history.
Even though both sexes are dashing to the store to pick up ingredients for dinner, the items they put in their carts and the amount they’re willing to pay differs. (Here are 19 ways to save major bucks at the store.) With such strong trends associated with each group, let’s take a look at the major differences between men and women’s grocery store habits. Do you fall in line with the research?
Do you shop with a list?
Most women do, but it’s more common for men to head to the store with just a few things in mind. (When a man does shop with a grocery list, studies show it’s more likely to have been written by a female partner or spouse.) For this reason, women tend to go grocery shopping less, but they buy more when they do. Men frequent the grocery store more often, buying more short-term groceries and leaving pretty quickly.
Fun fact: 68 percent of grocery store trips result in the purchase of ten items or fewer. (As someone who always leaves with seemingly endless bags of groceries, I’m feeling a little jealous!)
Do you make an effort to buy organic or free-range goods?
Did you know that natural foods tend to be located along the perimeter of a grocery store? The aisles between are largely stocked with processed goods and products—boxed cereal, baking mixes, snack packs—while the edges are home to fruits, vegetables and handmade foods found at bakery and deli counters. Often these sections contain more organic items, too, which tend to attract more women than men. That said, since 2012, there’s been an 8 percent increase in the number of shoppers of every sex who avoid center-store shopping, demonstrating a shared, conscious effort to be healthier!
If you’re a perimeter shopper, check out our top recipes for fresh produce to make the most of your grocery store haul!
Are you drawn to products labeled “light” or “diet”?
If you are, you’ve got something in common with many American women shoppers (but here’s why you should stay away from diet sodas). By contrast, when men look for healthier options, they tend to seek out products marked “high protein” or “energy-packed.” (Women and men alike will enjoy these 27 protein powerhouse snacks!)
How much money do you spend at the store?
Women spend an average of $2.37 more per trip to the store, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they spend more money on groceries overall. As mentioned above, women make less frequent trips to the store—buying more groceries per visit—while men go shopping more often.
And let’s consider deals and promotions. Women tend to seek out deals in-store, occasionally buying items they don’t immediately need if they’re offered at a good price. Men, on the other hand, will pay more money for a particular item they need, not worrying about whether it’s on sale.
Regardless of gender, it’s possible to save money and avoid crowds every time you go to the store. Whatever you do, don’t fall for these 50 supermarket tricks.
Do you ever wind up with things you didn’t intend to buy?
Many of us are guilty of a little impulse shopping, but studies show it’s much more common for men to leave a store with nonessential products than women. They’re particularly drawn to novel products such as unusual cooking gadgets and innovative flavors (like Firework Oreos or S’mores English Muffins!), while women are more likely to stick to familiar products they know they can depend on.
The good news
Whether or not you’re prone to the tendencies above, the good news is—statistically—we’re all shopping healthier and smarter than we used to. We’re also cheering the fact that men and women are sharing the shopping.
How do your grocery store habits line up? Let us know!