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Moms and Dads Unite on Food Choices, Purchasing Decisions

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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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Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster is the editor in chief of IDEA’s award-winning publications. She is Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified and is a Rouxbe Certified Plant-Based Professional cook.

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