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View from Venus: Supermarkets now catering to men

Sunday - 1/15/2012, 6:42am  ET

Randi Martin, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - A new group of grocery shoppers are catching the eye of supermarkets and food companies across the country -- men.

A survey done in 2011 found that 31 percent of men were now the main grocery shoppers for their households, up from 14 percent in 1985.

The study, done by consumer research firm GfK MRI and ESPN, attributes the trend to company layoffs during the recession that left many men at home, taking over responsibilities such as grocery shopping and food preparation.

Merchants were so interested in the large numbers of men "squeezing the Charmin," they researched how they shopped and began to make changes to accommodate them.

"Man Aisles" were created and will be integrated into stores like Walmart, Target and Walgreens this year. These aisles will offer all men products in one location. Merchants hope this will encourage men to linger longer in the aisles.

They found out men are willing to spend more time in food stores checking out new products that will help with their home cooking.

According to the study, men like to customize their food preparation and add their own personal touch. And much to the delight of food companies, men are also impulse buyers, returning home with many items that were never on the shopping list.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)