Long gone are the days of a heaping bowl of cereal on Saturday mornings in your pajamas in front of cartoons. The breakfast staple was fast and delicious, but the breakfast food’s popularity has decreased dramatically in the last decade—and not just owing to changes in diets.
Yesterday’s New York Times shared a shocking statistic: Almost 40 percent of interviewed millennials said cereal was an inconvenient breakfast choice because they had to clean up after eating it. So inconvenient that cereal sales have spiraled down almost 30 percent in the last 15 years.
Cereal is just too complicated. You have to get a bowl and a spoon, pour milk in the bowl, and then rinse out the bowl when finished. Are we so used to living a life of ordering food from apps and eating convenience foods in disposable containers that anything more is simply too much for us?
Perhaps it is that people aren't learning how to "be" with themselves or even do one thing at a time. Eating cereal, or preparing any other kind of breakfast food, takes time and involves being present with oneself, which is increasingly difficult in a society that privileges accomplishment over the simple pleasures of life, such as enjoying a meal, even breakfast.
We’ve forgone coffee beans for coffee pods and cooking for delivery. Is this the next step in our cravings for whatever brings ultimate convenience? Is convenience shifting our perception of nostalgia?
“It's just that this is a somewhat egregious statement of both entitlement and laziness; to wit, this is the generation that began receiving medals simply for showing up and in many instances grew up not having to do something as basic as sign their name or learn cursive writing,”says Rachel Weingarten, marketing and trend expert. “If you take a broader strokes view, this is also the generation that's having a harder time in the workplace than previous ones. Shutting off during meetings becomes an issue since there's the need for constant connectivity. Learning hierarchical levels of respect in the workplace and even life seems denigrated, again because it's a seemingly instant gratification generation. The trickle-down effect is a somewhat sensational story declaring that even eating cereal has become something not worth the investment of time or effort.
It looks as though the most convenient option besides buying a prepared breakfast is yogurt in disposable containers, until that becomes too complicated.