Dads, Moms Place Equal Value on Food Choices

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Dads, Moms Place Equal Value on Food Choices


As women represent the sole or primary breadwinner in 40 percent of households – and 25 percent out-earn their husbands – the classic image of the mom as home-maker is quickly fading.

Similarly, 75 percent of men say they're more involved in raising their kids than their fathers were and -- according to a new study by Edelman Berland and Edelman’s food sector – men are taking a more active role in the kitchen.

“As we saw dads playing a greater role in making household decisions, we were curious how that was impacting food and beverage purchases,” said Tish Van Dyke, Edelman’s global food sector lead. “We found that as the roles in our society shift, families are approaching food in new and different ways.”

Edelman’s research “uncovers the shared values, experiences and tools that food and beverage organizations can tap to engage their consumer audiences in meaningful ways,” Van Dyke added.

The study reinforced what most would predict – moms have the most influence when it comes to purchase decisions. However, the study dispels stereotypes that dad is not as concerned or engaged as mom in the role food plays in his family’s well-being.

In fact, more than 65 percent of moms and dads said what they eat is a reflection of their personal values, and were in lock step when it came to what attributes were most important when making food choices.

Other key findings include:

  • More than 85 percent say they limit the amount of processed foods their family eats.
  • More than 75 percent say it’s important to know where their food comes from, and more than 70 percent say they try to buy foods that are grown or raised locally.
  • Nearly 90 percent cook with fresh ingredients, and more than 95 percent said it is important to teach their children to cook.
  • Both agreed that brand name was not a key factor in purchase decisions, though more than two-thirds said a company’s values and community initiatives are important when buying products.
  • When asked to choose the most important factor in food purchases, both moms and dads ranked nutrition quality, taste and freshness as their top three.

“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 Edelman’s senior food and nutrition strategist Mary K. Young, MS, RD. “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.”

More than 50 percent of households reported that they share the food planning and purchasing responsibilities – everything from making the list to budgeting. And they are also sharing food-related social activities. Moms and dads both say they often watch cooking shows, visit farmers markets and tend vegetable gardens. However, they differ 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,” Van Dyke added. “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.”

Edelman's “America’s Kitchens: Redefining Roles and Values” study asked 500 moms and 500 dads living in the same household a series of questions about their attitudes and behaviors when it comes to making food choices.