Marketing to males vs. females

From alcoholic beverages to dairy products, marketers, manufacturers and restaurateurs are vying to stand out by identifying their food and beverages as male or female, reports the Globe and Mail.


Marketing of certain food and beverages has always been divided along gender lines -- beer ads typically geared toward men, ads for yogurt generally tailored for women. Companies today are taking bolder steps to segment the market, distinguishing which items are for men and which are for women.


Mansauce, a Greenbank, Ont.-based brand of spicy sauce, launched last November, claims to be "the manliest condiment ... ever." Made with jalapenos and banana peppers - "stuff that's typically associated with men," the sauce is a favorite of men." Earlier this year, Dr Pepper launched low-calorie Dr Pepper 10, aimed at men, in test markets in the U.S. In a commercial for the product it stresses, "only 10 manly calories," and that "it's not for women." And in New Zealand, dairy company Fonterra unveiled a "manly" yogurt last year under the brand name Mammoth Supply Co. with the slogan; "Real man food, man!" leaving little room for gender ambiguity.


When Colio Estate Wines, headquartered in Mississauga, Ont., launched its Girls' Night Out label in 2008, it was an unprecedented move to tailor an alcoholic beverage specifically for women. There are now several alcoholic beverage brands, like Skinnygirl Margarita in the U.S., that focus exclusively on female consumers.


Last month, New York chef Daniel Boulud and mixologist Xavier Herit released a two-volume recipe collection, Cocktails & Amuse-Bouches: For Her & For Him. The separate books, one "for her" and the other "for him," contain recipes catering to the different genders.


Whether they're marketed as such or not, we all tend to think of everyday items, including food and beverages, as one gender or the other, said James Wilkie, a doctoral candidate in marketing at Northwestern University. In a study published last year, he examined how such perceptions affect people's food choices. Men, more than women, he found, tend to be more concerned about choosing foods that conform to gender norms. For instance, they often choose rib-eye steaks, gravy and dishes described as "hearty" over supposedly feminine foods like salads.


Chick Beer, a new U.S. brew created for women comes in a pink and black box designed to look like a purse. Spokesman Dave Lewis believes men and women may actually have different flavor preferences. He and his wife, Chick Beer founder Shazz Lewis noticed that female customers in their Maryland liquor stores generally bought light beers, which are less bitter, and ales that taste softer and smoother. The recipe for Chick Beer was designed accordingly, as a "soft, smooth, and full-bodied" light brew.


"There has been some recent science suggesting that women are more likely than men to be super-tasters, and they are particularly sensitive to bitter flavors," according to Lewis. "Whatever the reason, women clearly drink less bitter beers than men."