Father shopping in a grocery store © Getty Images

Manhattan resident Dave Fasano thoroughly enjoys grocery shopping and views what some consider a mundane chore as fun and challenging -- and he's s definitely not alone.

Fasano, 48, scours his East Village neighborhood markets for sales, carefully reviewing the store circulars to find the best deals for family dinners. Married with a seven-year-old son, Fasano estimates he does about half the household grocery shopping and cooks most of the meals he buys. Recently, he prepared Chinese-style ribs with sautéed broccoli, purchasing pork ribs on sale for $1.99 a pound. He added soy sauce, rice vinegar, oil, brown rice and fruit preserves.

One fundamental shopping disagreement he has with his wife, Nicole, is that she tends to buy more expensive organic foods, while he prefers food on sale and heavier meals like Italian sausage.

"For me, shopping is fun because I challenge myself to make something great out of what is on sale," he says. "Once I see that, the ideas about what I'm going to prepare come to me. I get a charge out of making a lot out of a little. I feel like I'm channeling my inner peasant."

Fasano, like so many other American men, is increasingly taking on a task some still stereotypically associate with women. According to multiple studies, surveys and anecdotal information, more men are equally sharing grocery shopping, while some are even taking on a majority of the shopping load.

Growing trend

Midan Marketing, a Chicago-based agency that represents meat industry clients like Tyson Fresh Meats, released a survey in August that found 47 percent of the men who buy and eat meat were responsible for at least half their household grocery shopping. Forty-nine percent of the 900 men surveyed said they enjoyed grocery shopping, while 58 percent were very conscious of what they spent on beef, pork and chicken. (The survey focused on meat shopping only.)

Michael Uetz, a managing principal at Midan Marketing, says the company coined the phrase "manfluencers" last year to describe those men who like to shop, cook, barbecue, and sometimes clip coupons. These men have growing influence over how their families shop, according to Uetz.

Uetz says he was surprised that there were few gender differences in shopping habits between these so-called manfluencers and traditional women shoppers.

Phil Lempert, a consumer trends analyst and the CEO of SupermarketGuru.com, anticipated that men's "influence on our foods (is) becoming stronger as even more dads join the ranks of shopper and cook," he wrote last December. A 2012 survey from Cone Communications found that 52 percent of fathers identified themselves as the primary grocery shopper in the family. And a 2011 survey by ESPN disclosed that 31 percent of all grocery shoppers are men, up from just 14 percent in 1985.

One factor fueling the trend? It's the millennial-generation men who are passionate about food, says Lempert. They're willing to experiment with new flavors and more likely to shop or share those duties with their partners. Another key factor is that more men are working from home, a development in part attributed to the 2008 recession.

More from The Fiscal Times: