Fussy, or just fishy?
According to a study by the market research agency Mintel, millennials are shunning cereal as a breakfast choice because it is “inconvenient”. Eating it means using a bowl, and bowls (along with spoons) don’t clean themselves.
Plus, you have to put the box away. Players in the $10bn US cereal market, prompted by studies like this and a decline in sales, have been hastening to stay ahead of consumer preferences.
Kellogg’s and General Mills (it makes Cheerios) have launched a swathe of nutritional snack bars, because millennials are said to have a proclivity for eating on the go, and gluten-free varieties of more traditional morning staples, because millennials are said to have a predisposition for fads and hype. (OK, that last part is utterly made up.)
There are other consumer hallmarks that millennials or those born after 1981 find antiquated, like regular bar soap, motorcycles, diamonds and beer. They are also said to prefer experiences over big-ticket items like property and cars.
Last year, Australian real estate mogul Tim Gurner offered some advice to millennials struggling to buy a house: stop buying avocado toast. Remember that the once-humble avo is now regarded as modern-day ambrosia and has invaded kitchens and menus across the world.
“When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn’t buying smashed avocado for A$19 and four coffees at A$4 each,” he said in an interview on the Australian version of 60 Minutes.
I will leave you, dear reader, to decide if avocado toast has become a synonym for millennial excess.
Meanwhile, do have a look at the brilliant BBC graphic online, titled “How many avocado toasts does it take to afford a deposit on a house?”
One of the cities in the survey is Joburg, where the BBC calculates that the 20% deposit on an average 90m² apartment is the equivalent of ordering 3,964 avocado toasts.
Chicken of the sea
This week, millennials were blamed for the decline of another industry: canned tuna.
According to US department of agriculture data, consumption of canned tuna has dropped more than 40% per capita over the past 30 years.
In a Wall Street Journal report
Andy Mecs, vice-president for marketing and innovation at Starkist, one of the big three tuna operators in the US, said this: “A lot of millennials don’t even own can openers.”
Many people “can’t be bothered to open and drain the cans, or fetch utensils and dishes to eat the tuna”, the Journal said. I’ll just give you a second to collect yourself, dear reader.
Look, tuna has always had a reputation: first mercury, then dolphins and more recently the awareness around fishing practices. But by their very nature, consumption patterns are forever changing. The current shift, in more developed markets like the US, is away from processed and industrialised foods.
It will be a while before tuna (or cereal) has had its day in SA. Given that we aren’t a big fish-eating nation (South Africans consume 7.5kg per capita of fish products a year, against the global average of 17kg), tuna, along with pilchards, is one of our cheapest sources of protein.
You just have to look at frenzied Woolies shoppers loading their black baskets with the “buy five for R60” tuna special.
Disclaimer: My name is Zeenat, I am a millennial.