In case you missed it, the Internet nearly broke last week. No, there wasn’t a celebrity Twitter feud or arrest that made the news. This time, it was about cereal.
Yes, you read that correctly. Cereal.
Thanks to an article in the New York Times, the Internet exploded with seemingly endless accusations hurled towards millennials. Why? Because the NYT article cited a study that said “Almost 40 percent of the millennials surveyed by Mintel for its 2015 report said cereal was an inconvenient breakfast choice because they had to clean up after eating it.”
Before we move on, let me state 2 painfully obvious thoughts:
- Why does this matter?
- Do older generations care about cereal?
Ok. Let’s move on.
You can read a number of articles about this New York Times piece. Most of the articles end in some kind of millennial hatred, but that is not what I will do here. Instead, I want to offer a different approach to the data in the original article to declared the decline of cereal in America.
Millennials and Cereal
Yes, cereal is on the decline, especially among millennials. But why? Is it really a convenience thing? Are millennials really so lazy that they cannot clean up a bowl of cereal?
Based on my experience and social media feeds, the answer is no. More and more, millennials seem to be interested in cooking. Sure, we post heavily filtered Instagram photos at our favorite restaurants and coffee shops, but we also post heavily filtered Instagram photos of what we make at home.
We reached high school and college at the peak of shows like Good Eats, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and Iron Chef America. We probably follow Alton Brown, Michael Symon, Bobby Flay, or Alex Guarneschelli on social media. Those uber popular instructional food videos on Facebook? Yeah, we’ve tried to make some of those things. And we have even tried those wildly ambitious Pinterest recipes.
1. We want to make a statement with food. Our declining interest in cereal is connected to our rising interest in food. We are making more money at work, so we can afford slightly better ingredients. Our palettes are becoming more developed, and we are looking for ways to express ourselves in the kitchen.
2. We want to be healthy. Not only do we see food as an opportunity to make a statement, but we are also more health conscious than previous generations. Crossfit, Paleo, and slow-carb are trends that we know well. Many of us currently own or have previously owned a fitness tracker in order to become more healthy.
With a trend towards better health, cereal does not really have a place in our daily life. If you are eating healthy, exercising regularly, and have a weekly cheat day, then why waste a cheat day meal on cereal? Donuts are a much better choice.
Millennials leaving behind their cereal days is not worthy of a national crisis. It is a sign of growing up and making smarter choices. So while older generations shun millennials for leaving cereal behind, I’m going to enjoy my scrambled eggs made with unsalted European butter, cracked pepper, and pink Himalayan salt.