Moms and Dads Unite on Food Choices, Purchasing Decisions

by Sandy Todd Webster on Sep 19, 2013

Food for Thought

There is no place for stereotypes in the American kitchen these days. It’s not unusual to see dad writing the grocery list, poring over recipes and wearing the apron.

According to a study just released by Edelman Berland and the Edelman Food Sector, women and men are dividing and conquering 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. This study uncovers the shared values, experiences and tools that food and beverage organizations can tap to engage their consumer audiences in meaningful ways.”

The “America’s Kitchens: Redefining Roles and Values” study asked 500 moms and 500 dads living in the same households a series of questions about their attitudes and behaviors surrounding food choices. Individuals were interviewed separately, by phone, so that researchers could fully understand the similarities and differences in the values moms and dads associated with food and how they approached the shopping and preparation processes.

The study reinforces what many might predict: Moms have the most influence when it comes to purchase decisions. However, the results dispel the stereotype that dads are disengaged from the role food plays in the family’s well-being. In fact, more than 65% of moms and dads said what they eat is a reflection of their personal values, and parents were of like mind regarding the attributes most important to them when making food choices:

  • More than 85% said they limit the amount of processed food their family eats.
  • More than 75% said it’s important to know where their food comes from, and more than 70% said they try to buy foods that are grown or raised locally.
  • Nearly 90% said they cook with fresh ingredients, and more than 95% said it is important to teach their children to cook.
  • Both agreed that brand name was not a key factor in purchase decisions, although more than two-thirds said a company’s values and community initiatives were important.

When asked to choose the most important factors in a food purchase, 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.”

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About the Author

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster IDEA Author/Presenter

Sandy Todd Webster is Editor in Chief of IDEA's publications, including the award-winning IDEA FITNESS JOURNAL and IDEA FOOD & NUTRITION TIPS, the industry's leading resources for fitness, wellness and nutrition professionals worldwide. Sandy joined IDEA in 2001 as executive editor of IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER and IDEA FITNESS MANAGER magazines and was promoted to lead the editorial team in 2003. More than 20 years in magazine publishing, marketing communications and creative services have shaped her straightforward approach to multi-channel communication. Early experience in Los Angeles as a sports writer/reporter, and then enriching years as a managing editor in allied health care publishing have pulled her across a spectrum of stimulating subject matter. Fitness, health and nutrition reside at the perfect center of this content continuum, she feels. A Chicago native, Sandy grew up fully engaged in various competitive sports. Her drive and dedication as an athlete translate to a disciplined work ethic and unwavering approach to challenge in her career. Shortly after graduating journalism school from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, she was recruited to L.A. for her first post in magazine publishing. After two decades of working on magazines--and now in the throes of applying the unbelieveable multi-media content delivery options available in the magazine 2.0 world--she is still "completely in love" with the creative process it takes to deliver meaningful, inspirational content to end users. She is an accomplished home cook and gardner who would love to combine those skills and passions with her health and fitness background to continue educating readers about a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle.