Man v Food: 3 ways for brands to successfully target the male dieter

July 15, 2014

With the swimwear season in full swing, many Brits will be closely counting their calories as well as their ab crunches. However, despite the large portion (61% in total) of men looking to manage their weight, the weight-loss industry is heavily female-centric, with most dieting products and information aimed at female dieters.

We look at the three essential ways brands can create diet products that tap into the male market:

1. Recognise their needs
Whilst men have proven less set on losing weight than women, over two in five (45%) men said that they had tried to lose weight in the last year; and 16% said that they tried to manage it.

This gap in the market has already been identified by Andrew Shanahan, the publisher of a monthly digital magazine specifically for men seeking to lose weight. Man V Fat magazine launched in May 2014 and is dedicated to discussing the issues surrounding men losing weight, with information on both diet and exercise.

2. Watch your language
Mintel’s Dieting Trends UK 2013 report investigated how the labels “Diet “ and “Light”, which have flooded the market in recent years, are resonating less with men than their female counterparts, with just 17% of men considering food labelled ‘light’ or ‘diet’ as healthy, compared to 26% of women.

This suggests that food and drink brands could look at altering the language they use to convey that the product is healthy in order to appeal to men. Brands could instead use labels such as “high in protein” as this was found to register as healthy amongst more men than women, with 16% of men considering products carrying this claim to be healthy compared to just over one in 10 (11%) of women.

3. Make it Masculine
One in five (20%) men said that they would be embarrassed to be seen eating or drinking a ‘diet’ product, compared to just 12% of women. This suggests that brands could look at developing more masculine, or subtle, packaging that would help to take away any embarrassment that can be exacerbated by diet products that are deemed as feminine.

Mintel’s Global New Product Database (GNPD) tracked a number of examples of brands already doing this from around the world. For example, in February 2013 Hung Phat launched a new Slim Tea for Men product in Vietnam that is designed to help men lose weight, whilst the Japanese brand Asahi launched a Diet Coffee Jelly for men in 2012.

Jack Duckett
Jack Duckett

Jack Duckett is an Associate Director for Consumer Lifestyles Research. He specialises in reports exploring the attitudes and behaviours of different demographic groups.

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