The case of the disappearing breakfast
BARRY & KIRN
When one of your first tasks upon waking is feeding yourself and any dependents you happen to live with, it's easy to fall into a familiar routine – granola and yogurt, a bagel with peanut butter rather than jolt sleepy taste buds with complex ingredients or try out new culinary techniques. No matter how much they love to cook, most people would rather spend a few extra minutes asleep than at the stove – during the work week, anyway.
Long gone are the days of a full breakfast of bacon and eggs with toast and juice, served to a scrubbed and dressed family at the kitchen table before they scrambled off to school and the office – if that ever existed beyond TV sitcoms. Breakfast is becoming something our grandparents wouldn't recognize, and it's increasingly a standby at any time of day.
"We're witnessing the slow death of the meal institution," says Sylvain Charlebois, dean of the Faculty of Management and professor of food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University. "Lunch was the first meal to go because of the work that we do – a lot of people don't eat lunch, others eat on the go. The next meal to disappear is breakfast."
Breakfast isn't disappearing entirely – fewer than 10 per cent admit to skipping breakfast, according to a Dalhousie study led by Charlebois that explores how Canadians eat – it's just the sit-down meal that's languishing. We most often graze alone, and in a rush.
And it's not just about fast and easy – anything that's not portable is losing currency, even a bowl of cereal.
"Milk alone is an issue," Charlebois says. "As a fluid, when mixed with something else, like cereal, the end product becomes less portable and more messy. You see more and more products that are ready to eat – granola bars and other snack solutions are entering the market that offer consumers a convenient way to consume breakfast on the go, without the mess."