14039 Mon, 03/17/2008 - 11:04am
By Nathan Weber
NEW YORK–Men may be cooking at home more these days, but four out of five tend not to do much food shopping, let alone kitchenware buying. They are far more likely, however, to get involved in shopping and buying when it comes to major appliances.
These are among the findings of a new study by the Reidel Marketing Group, a Phoenix-based research firm specializing in population segments considered to be bellwethers or predictors of consumer trends, especially in household goods and home-based activities.
The study found that, among these “influentials,” men do at least some of the meal preparation in well over half the households—and that entails a good deal more than flipping burgers and hot dogs on the patio grill. In about 15 percent of the households, they do most or all of the cooking, during the week as well as on weekends.
Further, where men take responsibility for at least some of the meal preparation, most—nearly four out of five—tend to decide themselves just what their dinner masterpieces will be.
But only one of five of these guys are the primary food shoppers for their own meals: the rest agree to make the meals, so long as the woman goes out and buys the ingredients.
This changes, however, in the 15 percent of households where men do most or all of the meal preparation. There, at least, they also buy most or all of the food themselves.
And of the male-made meals themselves, how many are prepared from scratch? Not many; in households where men do any of the food preparation at all, including those where they actually make the majority of meals, two-thirds of the men opt for “speed scratch” cooking. That is a term coined in the mid-1990s by the Food Channel, according to the study. It means finding ways to cut down on traditional “from scratch” preparation, so as to save time. Most, for example, don’t follow recipes, at least not to the letter.
Suppose, in an “influential” household where men do “some but not a lot” of the cooking, the amateur chefs discover a need for a blender, fry pan, spatula or other such item not currently on the kitchen counter. Do they vow to go out and buy what’s needed? Not likely, according to the study. Two-thirds are neither apt to make a “purchase decision” nor to actually buy the item.
But for the large appliances in the kitchen, like refrigerators, stoves and dishwashers, the men come to the fore. Women and men in nearly four out of five such households decide together on purchasing white goods. In most of the others, the woman makes all the decisions.
According to the study’s author, the trend is that more and more men will become involved in cooking. She urges the housewares industry to take note.
“Quite clearly, men are becoming a more important segment of [household] cooks,” she said. “What’s more, it would appear that it is an underserved market because stores that sell cookware and other food preparation equipment and supplies are geared to a female consumer.”