Fussy, or just fishy?

Financial Mail - - SHOP TALK - @zeenat­moorad [email protected] by Zeenat Moorad


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.

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