Generational Food War
For many years the Baby Boomer Generation (1946-1964) was seen as the largest, most influential generation in American history. Now in 2012, as this massive generation begins to enter into their retirement years, their influence on the economy and society is starting to fade. Beginning to step into their place is the next massive generation, the Millennials (1982-2001). These two "Mega Generations" have begun to have a clash of ideals as the Millennial children begin to grow older (Mushkin, 2). One of the more heated topics between these two massive groups of people has been centered around food. The way food is produced, bought and ultimately eaten, is beginning to drive a wedge in-between these two generations. In some cases the Baby Boomers raised many of the Millennials, and maybe the Boomers are to blame for this ongoing feud. The essential debate is whether or not the traditional food at home is in threat of disappearing. With smaller arguments of, if there is a benefit or detriment in producing and consuming organic foods, and what food and health trends differ between the two generations.
Who are we, The Millennial Generation, to change the culture in how food is viewed? It's not entirely our fault; while we are being born and growing the Boomers and aging and beginning to die. As they slowly phase out so does their ideals, and taking their place is the beliefs of the new up incoming generation. This "passing of the baton" is an inevitable part of life and was going to happen at some point (Mushkin, 6). One of these new beliefs is searching for food that is deemed healthy at grocery stores. Baby Boomers were used to heading down to the supermarket buying their specific brand of food. When deciding which food to purchase "convenience is key to [buying] functional foods." (Soy Connection). The thing with the Baby Boomers is they like to go to a store like Safeway and be able to purchase all of the goods they need without having to travel to another store. This was done so they could get back home and cook and eat the traditional dinner. The one-stop-shop mentality is the staple of how Boomers choose their food. Being the largest generation in the country, the Baby Boomers were being targeted by the food marketers, by promoting their brand as being the best and once a boomer was hooked. Because of this marketing, when they are looking for a specific item they stay loyal to a brand, and stick with the old fashioned way of shopping by heading down to the store with a massive amounts of coupons so they can save (Mushkin, 27). This is especially important, because due to the aging there is a lack of income that they are receiving and have to find a way to work with the money that they have. They will also begin to purchase locally produced products, with the cheap mentality going in. The main food the Boomers will start to buy are foods that are fresh and healthy, in order to help increase their life expectancy. In this way they are beginning to assimilate into the healthy culture that the Millennials have begun to lay down the path for.
The Millennials could not be any more opposite. In a study conducted by Jennifer Nelson and Katherine Zeratsky, of the Mayo Clinic, they determined that "35 percents of meals eaten by Millennials are really snacks." This displays that the main priority of Millennials is that the food can be made, and eaten quickly. The traditional shopping is thrown out of the window when it comes to us shopping. If the food cannot be eaten quickly and/or made in a short amount of time then Millennials have no interest in it. In addition, the mentality is to buy what your shopping for at the lowest price regardless of the brands name. Although this search for the lowest price goes out the window when searching for items they desire. Going home and having a meal with a...
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