Are dads beginning to rival moms for food purchasing decisions?


- Last updated on GMT

Are dads beginning to rival moms for food purchasing decisions?
The times they are a-changing – dads are beginning to rival moms for food purchasing decisions, says new research from Edelman Berland and Edelman’s food sector.

Data from a new survey of 500 moms and 500 dads living in the same household also indicated that 85% of respondents say they limit the amount of processed foods their family eats. All of the couples had kids under the age of 18, and the data was collected in early 2013. 

“We found that as the roles in our society shift, families are approaching food in new and different ways,” ​said Tish van Dyke, Edelman’s global food sector lead. “This study uncovers the shared values, experiences and tools that food and beverage organizations can tap to engage their consumer audiences in meaningful ways.”

According to a Pew Research Study, moms are the sole or primary breadwinner in 40% of households and 25% are out-earning their husbands. In addition, 75% of dads say they are more involved in raising their kids than their fathers were (

“As we saw dads playing a greater role in making household decisions, we were curious how that was impacting food and beverage purchases,” ​said van Dyke.

Sharing food planning and purchasing

Edelman’s new study, “America’s Kitchens: Redefining Roles and Values”, found that, while moms still have the most influence when it comes to purchase decisions, 50% of households reported that they share the food planning and purchasing responsibilities – everything from making the list to budgeting.

“Traditionally, we considered mom to be the only one who made nutrition and wellness a priority for the family, but it’s clear it’s just as important to dad,”​ said Mary Young, MS, RD, Edelman’s senior food and nutrition strategist. “And, as dad continues to elevate his role within the home, we believe he’ll become an even more influential force in the food purchases.”

The survey also revealed that over 85% of respondents said they limit the amount of processed foods their family eats, over 75% said it’s important to know where their food comes from, and more than 70% say they try to buy foods that are grown or raised locally.

Both moms and dads agreed that brand name was not a key factor in purchase decisions, said Edelman, though more than two-thirds said a company’s values and community initiatives are important when buying products

Nutrition quality, taste and freshness ranked as the top three factors to influence food purchase for both moms and dads.

Speaking with FoodNavigator-USA, Van Dyke to said that they had been surprised at how aligned the responses from the mom and dads were. She also said that, while some of the numbers seem high, the Edelman team interprets those as trends to watch. "These are aspirational, and have been trending in the food and beverage industry for a while."​  

Information gathering

Despite an apparent overlapping on many issues, the survey found that moms and dads differed in how they find information. Moms are more socially active in channels such as Pinterest and blogs, but both moms and dads tend to use magazines and food apps.

“We know that both moms and dads are highly food engaged, online and offline,” ​said Van Dyke.

“Our study showed that while mom is more frequently using social and digital channels dad is there, too. So in a world where everyone is looking for budget efficiencies and smarter engagement, there is an opportunity to implement a marketing mix that includes a variety of tools and platforms that successfully reach both moms and dads.”

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