Friday, November 1, 2013

After the Great Mancession, Manfluencers Do the Family Shopping

The Great Recession of 2008 hit men a lot more strongly than women (hence the "mancession" label), and reovery has created more jobs for the woman of the house.  So there are a lot more guys these days wandering the aisles of supermarkets to do the family shopping. Now marketers are starting to seize on that fact as a marketing opportunity, and new product lines are designed, packaged, and advertised with a male-oriented appeal. 

Companies call these male shoppers "manfluencers", and though objective surveys show that their buying habits are not at all different from the women they have replaced in the checkout line, you can still expect to see coffee drinks in long-necked amber beer-style bottles and high-protein "pro-yo" yogurt in tough black packages.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Wall Street Journal

Link to article:
Groceries Become a Guy Thing

Excerpt: "Food company executives hope more men shopping means new opportunities for foods some men have traditionally shied away from in this country, including yogurt and hard cider. The changes are often cosmetic: larger portions or darker color schemes instead of recipes on the backs of packages.

Lots of products on food shelves are big no-nos to men, says Lu Ann Williams, head of research for Netherlands-based Innova Market Insights. Others help men feel more, well, manly. 'A beer or soda in a long-necked, brown bottle makes a man feel like a man. Drinking out of a straw does not—puckered lips and sunken cheeks are not a good guy look.'

Which helps explain Powerful Yogurt, a Greek yogurt launched in March featuring a bull's head symbol on red-and-black packaging and an image of stomach muscles next to the slogan 'Find Your Inner Abs.'

A single-serving yogurt cup is a hefty eight ounces, compared with the more typical five to six ounces, and features 20 to 25 grams of protein. The yogurt shelf 'is light blue, light pink, white, and everyone's talking to women and their digestive health,' says Carlos Ramirez, chief executive of the Miami-based company. 'The amount of protein is what guys are looking for.'

Men also shy away from frozen yogurt, says Nathan Carey, founder of Twin Cups LLC, which makes Pro Yo, a frozen yogurt geared specifically for men that launched in August. Mr. Carey ran a frozen-yogurt kiosk in Santa Barbara, Calif., and marveled at how the vast majority of his frozen-yogurt customers were women. The men who came with them would just have coffee.

He decided to instruct his employees on using different sales pitches on men. 'If it's a male, we'd say, "This product tastes like a premium ice cream, it's high in protein and has live active cultures," and we'd get immediate buy-in. But if you told a guy it was low fat before he knew it tasted like premium ice cream, he'd never buy it,' Mr. Carey recalled.

Using what he learned, he came up with a frozen yogurt meant to have macho appeal without turning off potential female customers. A black box with 'Pro Yo' in boldface contains three tubes of frozen yogurt in flavors such as Vanilla Bean and Blueberry Pomegranate. 'On the box, the first thing it says isn't "frozen yogurt," ' he says. 'It's "high protein." '  In the end, about half his customers are male, he says. The product, introduced two months ago, is sold in California supermarkets and gyms; Mr. Carey says he is in discussions with supermarkets in other regions of the country."

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