Who’s Got Time For Cereal?

Posted On March 16, 2016

Who doesn’t like cereal? Most of us grew up with it, whether it was kid favorites like Froot Loops or Lucky Charms or less sugary alternatives like Corn Flakes or Cheerios. We filled our bowls and sat at the kitchen table, reading the back of the box while we slurped down the most important meal of the day.

Who doesn’t like cereal? Millennials, that’s who.

In examining the declining sales of the breakfast staple, the New York Times recently cited a Mintel survey that found 40 percent of millennials who responded found cereal inconvenient “because they had to clean up after eating it.”

Yes, that would be the bowl they’re talking about.

Never mind that most folks nowadays have dishwashers. Even those who have to wash dishes the old fashioned way can leave a used bowl in the sink and clean it later, when they return from work or school.

Lazy, right?

Well, since I rarely eat cereal for breakfast myself anymore after a childhood diet anchored by Cap’n Crunch, might I suggest another reason: Time.

It’s a faster-paced world than it was even 10 years ago. Even Gen-Xers like myself often find it prudent to munch on a granola bar on the way to work and save the five or ten minutes it would have taken to eat a bowl of Corn Chex.

The Washington Post, in its own examination of millennials’ distaste for cereal, cited government data showing that nearly two-thirds of U.S. households feature two working parents. In their rush to get the kids dressed and ready for school, iron a pair of pants or a blouse and get out the door themselves, actually sitting to eat anything in the mornings is a luxury.

It’s not just cereal, of course. The Post notes that the popularity of delivered meals and single-serve coffee pods is also rising, all fueled by a seemingly insatiable desire for convenience.

The Post plays into the “lazy millennial” narrative by noting statistics showing that fewer parents are forcing their children to do chores. And what adult who didn’t do chores as a child wants to bother with washing a bowl, right?

But as a Gen-Xer who mowed more than his share of lawns as a youth, I can say there’s more to it than that. Our lives are busy these days. If we can save a few minutes here or there, we’re going to do it.

Except for those people skimping on good coffee. Those people are just crazy.

Categories: Generation Y / Millennials