tradition. Grown-ups spend longer hours in home offices and find
their free time filled with meetings, errands and carpool
responsibilities. Teens who participate in sports or any other kind
of school activity deal with staggering schedules of their own. Even
the little ones are cramming homework, karate or dance lessons and
scout meetings into a limited number of after-school hours.
An overwhelming number of Family Feeders turn to prepared fresh
and frozen entrees, packaged salads and desserts out of a box. While
the nutrition content may not be the best, these conveniences make a
shared evening meal possible. Weary adults, sulking teens and little
milk-spillers learn to tolerate and perhaps even enjoy each other's
company. But the shared evening meal may soon become a casualty of
our the 21st century lifestyle. And there are other forces at work
that are aren't making the tradition any easier to preserve.
Food marketers have been flooding the market with kid-pleasing
salty, sweet and high-fat snack and breakfast food for years. Images
of cartoon characters and the promise of de-coder rings have
embellished cereal boxes since the 1950s. It's not surprising that
these market-savvy arbiters of taste are now fine-tuning their
efforts to influence not only what the kids eat for breakfast, lunch
and snacks, but what they eat for super as well. They know the
children and teens in your household determine more than one-third of
your grocery cart contents.
Keeping everyone around the table happy is one thing, but most of
the new products have little appeal to anyone over the age of 6. I
guess they're assuming most kids eat their dinner beyond the prying
eyes of grown-ups. And, of course, there's always the issue of
convenience and dealing with finicky eaters.
Heinz introduced green ketchup about two years ago, claiming the
color was attractive on vegetables. I wonder how long that ruse
Ore-Ida, a unit of Heinz, will serve up child-pleasing shock value
with blue fries that can be dipped in purple, orange, pink and teal
ketchup included in the package.