Why aren’t millennials eating cereal? Apparently, it’s just too much work.
Almost 40% of millennials surveyed by Mintel said that cereal was an inconvenient breakfast choice, because they have to clean up after eating it, reports the New York Times.
Instead, younger consumers are turning to convenient options with minimal cleanup that can be eaten on the go, from yogurt to fast-food breakfast sandwiches.
Cereal sales dropped 5% from 2009 to 2014, despite the fact that more Americans are eating breakfast than ever before.
“Cereal used to be the only breakfast option,” Andrew Shripka, Kellogg’s associate director of brand marketing,
told Business Insider. “There’s a lot more to choose from than there ever used to be.”
The cereal slump is finally turning around, with Kellogg reporting its first positive quarter for breakfast food sales in 2½ years in February. However, the New York Times notes that some of this turnaround is not driven by cereal being eaten for breakfast, but instead being consumed as an ingredient in meals throughout the day — a fact that Kellogg is leaning into.
“We are now seeing in the US over 30% of cereal consumed outside the breakfast occasion; several years ago it was just 20%,” Kellogg CEO John Bryant said in the company’s November Investor Day, where Kellogg served “Kickin’ Crunch” — Special K Protein Flakes mixed with yogurt, avocado, and cayenne pepper. “People add different fruits, soy milk, coconut milk, cow’s milk, whatever it might be.”
Kellogg has partnered with trendy celebrity chefs such as Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi and Mission Chinese Food’s Danny Bowien to create Instagram-friendly cereal-based creations.
The creation of these eye-popping dishes indirectly addresses millennials’ distaste for cereal: that it’s just not worth the inconvenience.
Millennials don’t mind expanding energy on their food. Customers will wait in line for hours for Instagram hits like rainbow bagels — they can theoretically spend thirty seconds washing a bowl.
The issue is the return on investment. No one is going to Instagram a simple bowl of cereal, and it’s easy to find a cup of yogurt, piece of fruit, or fast-food sandwich to eat on the go.
However, if cereal can fulfil millennials’ cravings for social media affirmation, making (and cleaning up) a bowl of Corn Flakes is suddenly worth the minor inconvenience. At least, that’s what Kellogg is banking on to attract younger customers, as cereal moves from breakfast staple to “inconvenient” treat.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.