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Men are intimidated by grocery stores

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Given that I usually see lots of men in the store whenever I am grocery shopping, I always assumed that the idea that men were intimidated by the grocery store to be a silly stereotype. But as with many stereotypes, this one turns out to be rooted in fact. Recent studies show that men are, in fact, overwhelmed by the grocery store.

According to the survey taken last year, about 60% of men grocery shop (up from 41% in 2004) and most of them like things to be convenient. When things are not convenient, men tend to “forgo buying rather than risk purchasing a substitute” and not ask for help if they can’t find something.

The problem, therefore, seems to be choices. Grocery shelves are filled with more options than ever before, and many of these options are just variations on existing products, with tags like organic, new formula, less salt, more fiber, lower in fat, no trans fats, etc – which means that you might see a dozen extremely similar products lined up on the shelf together. On top of that, manufacturers seem to be releasing more “limited edition” items, particularly in snack food categories, which means that there is a high turnover rate for new items. It might be only a matter of time before even more shoppers are overwhelmed when they need to head to the market, but for now both retailers and manufacturers find that women are more willing to consider all these options, while men usually like to buy the same products they purchased last time - assuming, of course, that they can find them.

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  • adrianna
    June 2, 2007

    It’s the paradox of choice!

    Personally, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by choice, too…but at the same time I love to browse and have many new things to try. Browsing the supermarket aisles is as fun as (or more than!) browsing the mall.

  • Abby
    June 4, 2007

    I love grocery shopping. And it’s good to take my husband, because he worked at a market for years and knows where everything is kept! I ask him more often about things than you may think!

  • kevin
    June 7, 2007

    I may be a nut case, but I love the grocery store! I find a marathon trip to my favorite (Pavilions in Burbank) store therapeutic. I can even guide bewildered shoppers to the right aisle to find what they are seeking.

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