Food advocate, author Michael Pollan is back in the news thanks to the release of his new book. In a nutshell, he believes we need to get back into the kitchen and start cooking again. Consequently we will select higher-quality ingredients, thus be in control and eat more intelligently/healthier.
Will America start rebuilding a culture of cooking? I hope so. However, when I examine several lifestyle and demographic trends, I believe that only a select few will subscribe to Pollan’s latest manifesto. Rationale:
- Working Households – According to a 2010 study released by the Center for American Progress “The New Breadwinners”, among families with children, 44.8 percent were headed by two working parents and 26.1 percent were headed by a single parent. Who has time to shop and cook?
- Commuting – The average commute one-way is 25.5 minutes (source: U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011 Community Survey). Multiple that by two, five times a week and we are looking at approximately 4.2 hours in commuting time. Add in the estimated average hours an American works full time per weekday, 8.46 hours (source: U.S. Department of Labor), the equivalent of 42.3 hours per five day work week. Who has time to cook or shop?
- Single, One Person, Nonfamily Households – Primarly attributed to people getting married later in life, divorce and seniors outliving their spouses, single households are on the rise in America; 26.7 percent of the total population (source: 2010 U.S. Census). How many single people do you know like to shop and cook?
- “Digital Natives” (a.k.a. Millennials) – America’s number one population group, approximately 80 million, Millennials (individuals between the ages of 16 and 34) are heavy snackers/grazers. It is estimated that 35% of this group’s daily meals are snacks. On average they own 2.4 gizmos; 83 percent use social networking sites compared to the overall adult population of 67 percent (source: Pew Internet & Life Project). In addition to connectivity there is gaming. Multitasking is their norm. Dude, who has time to shop and cook?