Dear Grocery Stores, WAKE UP!
10th Oct 2012 Posted in: YAYA Wire 0

By Jackie Smith

The days of Julia Childs and Alice Waters are over. We want quick and easy meals that we can “Make in 30 minutes!” (as Rachel Ray would say…). But, do millennials really care where our food comes from as long as it’s fast? The YAYA generation seems to be saying “nope!”

Everyone loves a quick meal when you’re on the run, but it seems YAYAs have forgotten that cooking is not just about shoveling food into our mouths between events, meetings and games, but rather an art, a process, and an experience. The need of instant access is one of those double-edged swords, but when it comes to food, things need to change. I’m not implying everyone should be nicknamed Emeril, but the process of making and eating food has changed dramatically in just one generation.

I grew up in a house where my mom made a home-cooked meal every night. She instilled that cooking and eating was an experience, and I should enjoy and appreciate each ingredient that a recipe called for. It was a sight to watch her mince the onions as a tear or two fell down her face, and the amazing smell of a pot roast floating through the hallways of my house, making my whole family salivate for hours.

Then…college came. Why I ever thought cooking like my mother would occur in college still baffles me, but back in 2009, I was ready to put my mothers training to the test and COOK.

Problem 1: I am a poor college student.
Problem 2: Fresh food ingredients are expensive.
Problem 3: The combination of problem one and two…

If people think YAYAs are so unhealthy, why hasn’t a better solution come forward in regard to buying healthy food? Sure, the frozen aisle at the grocery store has every frozen crop grown from California to Virginia at an affordable price, but the fresh versions are at least double the cost. Some supermarkets, like Safeway, have incorporated Gen-Y needs by offering store brand organic products, but the changes aren’t adding up at the checkout counter.

According to one study, 55% would buy healthier food options if they could afford it. But, with the evolution of supermarkets and mass retailers like Target and Wal-Mart, it’s not surprising that 32% of YAYAs would rather save their money by buying unhealthy items than spending more on healthier ones. A research report, called Trouble in Aisle 5, says YAYAs value convenience and freshness over brand loyalty. But, is being convenient, fresh and affordable even possible? What do you think?

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