Remember that time we told you about the earth-shattering reality that a majority of Millennials can't cook and don't care who knows it? It's with a heavy heart that we deliver unto thee equally dismaying news—news that may forever more change your view of both Millennials and the American breakfast.
Something is going on with breakfast cereal in the US. Something that the cereal industry is seriously worried about. Ever since the late 1990s, when many Millennials were hitting puberty, the popularity of cereal has been on the decline. Sales last year were $10 billion, a slump if you consider that in the year 2000, sales almost hit $14 billion.
What's going on with breakfast cereal?
"The cereal category is certainly shifting," Melissa Abbott, director of culinary insights for a consumer food research group told The New York Times. "Consumers overall are less interested in industrially processed grains as a meaningful start to their day."
According to a survey by Mintel, almost 40 percent of Millennials aren't into eating cereal for breakfast. Why? They told Mintel that it was an "inconvenient breakfast choice because they had to clean up after eating it."
Are we, as a generation, really that lazy that a pesky bowl and spoon will put us off the ultimate nostalgia food?
Apparently so. Bon Appétit Management Company, a California food service firm, said other options were preferred at breakfast on the college campuses and corporations it serves—things like protein bars and hot cereals, including congee and oatmeal.
Instead of being a morning staple, cereal has become a snack food. Cereal manufacturers know this and, since business began to decline in the 1990s, have been trying to pitch cereal as something to eat as a non-breakfast item—in a snack bar or cracker, for example. "They have to embrace that people love the flavor and texture of cereal and the vintage nature, but it's not about breakfast," says Momofuku Milk Bar's Christina Tosi to the Times.
Some pretty serious chefs besides Tosi also see the value of cereal—but not as a breakfast food. Ferran Adria was known for his Kellogg's Paella at El Bulli. He made it by pouring seafood broth over Rice Krispies. A cocktail made from Fruity Pebbles is a hit at Bedrock Fizz, a New York restaurant. Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese, has been known to pair Frosted Flakes with matcha milk. He also makes a dish out of Corn Pops and a bacon-infused soymilk.
Will the word "breakfast" no longer be attached to the word "cereal" in American gastronomy? Things may be headed that way. And it may all come down to the Millennial aversion to washing a bowl and spoon too early in the morning.