According to Variety, Disney is set to launch one of the company's biggest film licensing programs ever, and part of that initiative to broaden its reach will be directly devoted to branching further into the "food and packaged goods" categories, through companies like Sage Fruit, Conagra, Crunch Pak and Chobani. Selling The Avengers through products like granola bars, yogurt and whole and/or sliced fruit may seem out of whack at first glance, but with grocery store shoppers (which at 65-67% are overwhelmingly female) seeking out health conscious food products, it will likely help market to a demographic not normally hit by the comic company.
Prior to this, Marvel has primarily focused merchandising through companies like Hasbro, Hot Wheels, Lego and Funko for toys, action figures and play sets, as well as companies like Under Armour for apparel. Disney's senior VP of Marvel Licensing had this to say of the recent Avengers: Age of Ultron marketing decision to "make the big bigger":
There are a number of licensees that have stepped up to create products in the food space. We’re real excited about that. When a food partner signs up for a program, it gives a lot of impressions in stores when consumers walk down the aisle, and [it] spills into purchases of other products.
The first Avengers film achieved about a 40% female attendance rate, which was the highest of any Marvel film until last year's Guardians Of The Galaxy, which brought in 44%. In a normally male-donimated market, the trends of females gaining interest in comic book films are starting to rise. With more and more female characters like GOTG's Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan), Captain America: The Winter Soldier's Black Widow popping up, it looks like there is a bigger shift happening. One need not look any further than last year's announcement of the female Thor and the upcoming Captain Marvel film to see that Marvel is indeed pursuing women much more aggressively now than ever.