Lazy millennial bowl-haters may be hurting big cereal's bottom line

Why eat cereal when you can just go out and buy cereal milk ice cream from Momofuku?

40% of young adults say cereal is too much work, giving millennial-haters new fodder for digital ridicule

Cereal is hard. (Flickr/frankieleon)

After more than 15 years of seeing profits decline industry-wide, cereal producers are feeling the (Cinnamon Toast) crunch of no longer being breakfast's best bet.

Could the ungrateful youth of today be to blame for big cereal's financial struggles? 

Maybe — but not for the reasons you'd think.

A New York Times report suggests that more young adults have been shunning cereal in recent years because the process of pouring it with milk into a bowl, eating it with a spoon, and then cleaning up any dishes afterward is simply too much trouble.


The results of a recent survey conducted by Mintel, a global research firm, suggest that nearly 40 per cent of people born between 1980 and 2000 consider cereal "inconvenient to consume."

Millennials (or "snake people," if you will) feel entitled to a breakfast that requires less effort, it seems — like a huevos rancheros burrito purchased for $11 on the way to work.

"Breakfast cereal, both as a cultural marker and a profit centre, is at a crossroads," reports the New York Times. "Younger consumers are not as attached to cold cereal for breakfast as their forebears.… They either don't eat breakfast at all, or eat it somewhere other than home. And when they do eat breakfast, a bowl of cold cereal is often replaced by hot grains, smoothies, yogurt or breakfast sandwiches."

This drop-off in cereal consumers is responsible, at least in part, for declining sales across the entire industry according to the Times. 

"Since the late 1990s, [cereal's] popularity has been slowly fading," the newspaper writes. "Sales, which totalled $13.9 billion in 2000, dipped last year to about $10 billion."

That's not to say that youth aren't interested in cereal, though.

Millennials may not be pouring out as many bowls of it for breakfast, but at least some have been keen on things like spooning it into Ryan Gosling's mouth, going to all-cereal cafés, and watching Frosted Flakes mascot Tony the Tiger fight off furries on Twitter in recent years.

And while 40 per cent of millennials surveyed by Mintel were "too lazy" to eat cereal, as some have put it, many of those within this demographic are now questioning the survey's findings online — or simply poking fun at this week's outpouring of millennial hate.

"You can't take extra time to eat in the morning when you're a millennial, because any method you try to get to work is annoying and full of people who probably also did not have cereal," explains Buzzfeed of why cereal-shunning is about more than being too lazy to wash a bowl.

"Of course, you really cannot be late. And that's because the only technology involved in your job that your baby-boomer bosses actually understand is a clock, so that's all they use to determine whether you can actually do your job," the piece continues. 

"Millennials just aren't interested in taking a minute to plan their day and read a newspaper as they savour their cereal. They have shit to do and they got their news before they even got out of bed. Cereal is a hassle."

Oh snap (crackle, pop)!


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