Are millennials killing the art of cooking?
Millennials, the generation born between 1980 and 1995, are the largest demographic of living population in the world and they are determining the future of food.
There’s no doubt this generation leads a live-by-app lifestyle which dominates daily activity in both positive and negative ways. They’ve grown up with smartphones and feel digital access is one of life’s necessities, like food and water.
One of the greatest differences between this demographic and their Generation X parents, is the way in which food is chosen and prepared. The growth of dark kitchens and food delivery services has been widely reported in the mainstream press with Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Just Eats now household names. Many city-dwelling millennials confirm they regularly have evening meals delivered three or four times a week which has been ordered using a mobile app. When coupled with the once or twice weekly visits to casual dining or QSR outlets, that leaves one night in seven when they might eat home-cooked food. Digging deeper also reveals that cooking is often actually heating prepared food brought home from supermarkets.
So what does this mean for the children of millennials? They certainly won’t be going home to Mum and Dad’s for Sunday lunch like generations before them and cooking Christmas lunch might be interesting. It’s no wonder there are concern that the art of creating a wholesome home-cooked meal, from raw ingredients, will be forgotten by the majority.
For a foodie generation that eats for health, seems obsessed with sustainable ingredients, it seems strange that mindful millennials don’t cook regularly. Is it laziness or just a change in the way we live our lives and value our spare time? Why spend time cooking when we could be doing something else? There is no less emphasis placed on the importance of what we eat, just how it gets to our plate.
With this in mind it’s easy to see the majority of meals may become mass produced in future. The commercial kitchen, dark or otherwise, and the equipment within it will need to adapt to this trend. The focus on equipment durability, sustainability and necessity for flexible applications will be more important than ever. The struggle with space in kitchens will also continue as the volume of food to be produced increases.
On the other hand, we may see an increase in the number of professional chefs and an influx of students wanting to enter the Hospitality industry. After all, someone has to develop appealing menus in commercial kitchens and create the next food trend to be delivered to our door…