More than one-in-three (35 percent) moms admit dads have had more influence on grocery store purchases over the last few years. And, with 52 percent of dads now saying they are the primary grocery shopper in the household, the power of dad is hitting its stride, according to new research from Cone Communications.

The 2012 Cone Communications Year of the Dad Trend Tracker found that while “top shopper” is a role typically thought to belong to mom, more dads are poised to take on the grocery store, demonstrating a lot of forethought and preparation.

Dads primarily responsible for grocery shopping are more than twice as likely as moms to get a lot of input from other members in their household (34 percent vs. 12 percent). They also do their homework before setting foot in the store.

Before heading to the supermarket, dads say they:
• Create a detailed shopping list – 63 percent (vs. 65 percent of moms)
• Collect coupons or read circulars – 56 percent (vs. 62 percent of moms)
• Plan meals for the week ahead of time – 52 percent (vs. 46 percent of moms)
• Perform background research on grocery products – 24 percent (vs. 11 percent of moms)

“This research goes against all stereotypes of the ‘Father Knows Best’ dad who doesn’t concern himself with domestic responsibilities,” says Bill Fleishman, president of Cone. “Marketers need to recognize the growing number of dads in the supermarket aisles who are taking their roles seriously and can benefit from brands who provide tools and shortcuts to make shopping easier.”

All the prep work dads put in before heading to the grocery store is paying off. When asked about their typical grocery shopping experience, nearly one-third (32 percent) of dads say they get in and out as fast as possible buying only what they came for, compared to just 21 percent of moms. Dads are also less likely than moms (26 percent vs. 30 percent) to say they get distracted by large in-store displays.

But there are still a considerable number of dads who are just as thoughtful in-store as they are beforehand. Thirty-eight percent of dads say they walk up and down each aisle to look at all their options or comparison shop. And while nearly one-in-five (19 percent) dads say they can finish their shopping in fewer than 30 minutes, the majority (58 percent) spend up to an hour in the store.

Dads’ top three channels for gathering product and other grocery-related information are: in-store promotions (57 percent), advertising (50 percent) and traditional media like newspapers, magazines and television (40 percent). Surprisingly, traditional channels such as these even outrank word of mouth from friends and family (38 percent).

“Marketing to the sexes has always been looked at as needing two distinct approaches, but the lines are blurring,” says Fleishman. “Roles may be shifting within the household, but we’re finding that dads are not acting so differently from moms in their approach to grocery shopping. This is good news for marketers because it means we don’t have to rewrite the playbook. By understanding the nuances, we can actually use the same strategies to reach the primary grocery shopper in the household, whether it’s mom or dad.”