China Food

A breakfast for a migrant worker is difficult for many people

Breakfast became the most difficult meal.

Unconsciously, our breakfast has become more and more simple.
A bag of ready to eat chicken breasts, some whole wheat biscuits, and a cup of freeze-dried coffee from the Temporary Supermarket add up to less than a minute – this is my standard breakfast template. It is convenient and fast. There is no need to think about “what to eat today”. Everything is perfect except bland.
If breakfast is the prologue of life aesthetics, the taste of the first meal of the day is probably a white noise – and this is not an example. In my observation, there are many people in the workplace who are worried about “having a good breakfast”.
So, why is it so difficult to have a good breakfast? Can we save our breakfast?
Modern people who are bored with little food
Get up 15 minutes ahead of time for breakfast, cook a pot of instant noodles, and lie down with oneortwo poached eggs. What’s the difficulty of having a breakfast that can be done easily?
Of course, it’s hard to get up early to cook or turn over to sleep. Most office workers know that it doesn’t need to be considered at all. Take Northwest China as an example. As a single migrant worker who has been drifting to the north for many years, setting four alarm clocks to sleep for an extra 30 minutes and limiting the time from getting up to going out is the standard answer that meets the physiological needs. Get up early to cook? Who has that leisurely mood.
Daily 996 commuting and staying up late at home. The workplace pressure in the first tier cities not only forces most workers living alone into two frontlines, but also turns cooking into a complete extravagance – even the seemingly non troublesome breakfast is no exception. In addition, the long commuting distance has further compressed our life time. To meet the minimum breakfast demand of “eating is OK”, we mainly rely on buying something at will and eating while walking.
Getting up every morning to buy a pancake at the roadside stall downstairs has become the only recognized breakfast program in Northwest China. In his impression, office workers in a hurry eat while walking. At least until 2019, there will be a large number of people outside the Fifth Ring Road in Beijing.
It’s not just the 996
that drives us back from breakfast
According to the survey on breakfast behavior of young mental workers released by the Institute of food and nutrition development of the Ministry of agriculture in 2017, among the contemporary working people aged 25-45 who have been engaged in science and technology, education, finance and trade, law and management for many years, only 62.2% of the survey samples confirm that they eat breakfast every day.
As for the reasons for not eating breakfast, 63.3% of the respondents chose two reasons: “no time to eat” and “habit not to eat”.
The living mode of living alone, the huge work pressure, and the extra long distance commuting take up too much time. It is natural for contemporary migrant workers to have a bad breakfast experience.
But that is not all. The COVID-19, which hit at the end of 2019, directly damaged the vitality of offline restaurants. In addition, with the constant acceleration of city building and renovation in recent years, it has long been an objective fact that small-scale breakfast stalls do not exist. The single worker who could have eaten while walking on the road said goodbye to breakfast.
Fast food chains can’t survive
The work and life that are difficult to balance are destined to have a direct impact on our breakfast experience. However, if we live a more regular life and focus on the chain fast food restaurants for the first meal every day, can our breakfast problem be solved?
Not necessarily. At least in my friend Lao Zhang’s opinion, even if McDonald’s and KFC are chosen instead of the egg and cake trolley at the intersection, even if the cost is controlled with the breakfast card, it is still not a good idea to expect to use the chain fast food restaurants as canteens to solve the breakfast on weekdays.
Compared with living in the northwest outside the Sixth Ring Road, Mr. Zhang is younger and more powerful. He has the strength to find a place to live closer to the center of a big city. Not only is the distance to work shorter, but he can also directly fill his stomach with breakfast from McDonald’s, KFC and Starbucks – just to eat. It’s still hard to eat well.
Can eat, but only can eat. It is still far away from the “special praise” and even the “tide of praise”. The reason is simple: when you open the brand homepage of these fast food chains, there are usually no more than 30 items under the “breakfast” label – it looks like a lot, but in fact, it is the result of counting the staple food, catering and beverage soup together. In other words, if we have breakfast at McDonald’s every day, we won’t find any food on the menu for two weeks at most.
Of course, we can eat all over McDonald’s before moving to KFC, but not to mention wasting breakfast cards, in the end, we just let the burnout period come a few weeks later. Within two months, “going to a fast food chain for breakfast” will become the last choice under no choice. The seemingly affordable breakfast card will end up just like the last fitness card we had in 2019.
I can do well, but I’m really tired
Breakfast in chain fast food restaurants with extremely limited options is difficult to become the optimal solution for the first meal of a day for refined modern people. So, how about giving up eating out completely and returning to the path of “making your own food at home”? I’m afraid it’s not that easy.
For example, my friend, Mr. ODA, got rid of 996 and became a freelance worker since 2019. He lives in his own home without commuting. He can spend his time freely and wake up naturally to make breakfast. It should be easy for him – but in his opinion, now he wants to make a satisfactory breakfast at home, It is still difficult: “I have only three needs: first, it should be cheap, so it is OK to sell it every day; second, it should be healthy, not particularly healthy, but not high sugar pure carbon water or big oil; third, it should be possible to change a little, or there should be room for combination.”
This is the real reason why we can’t have a satisfactory breakfast.
In most people’s habits, compared with lunch and dinner, breakfast is worth lower resources and production costs – it’s too slow and labor-intensive to do it yourself, and it’s difficult to control the cost of ordering takeout and regular restaurant food. Not to mention, compared with lunch and dinner, there are not many catering institutions that can provide high-quality breakfast. This is basically the status quo of the breakfast industry in first tier cities and local towns.
Breakfast is hard, hard in the gully of the times
In the final analysis, the essence of breakfast tangle lies in the era of rapid development, which is out of touch with the lagging regional breakfast concept – this is our view of corpse sauce.
Migrant workers from all over the world have their own diverse needs – that is, the “flavor of hometown”. However, for the chain breakfast shops in these central cities, the “limited edition” breakfast category that the central kitchen can provide, in addition to the local characteristics that outsiders are not used to, is the strange accent of Handan Toddler – KFC in Wuhan will launch hot and dry noodles, while KFC in Beijing is fried noodles, but I’m afraid that either is far from “authentic”.
Outsiders complain that they can’t taste the flavor of their hometown, while locals complain that they are not authentic and cater to the public. As a result, it’s difficult for them to adjust.
Just as the Beipiao people from Shanxi can’t get enough to drink in Beijing, Lao Zhang, a Beipiao people from Shandong, can’t find grits soup in Beijing. Because their taste pursuit can’t be satisfied for a long time, their demand for breakfast is also declining. In the end, they either choose to simply add calories in the chain fast food restaurant, or simply don’t eat it and give up.
What’s worse, even Chinese people of different ages have different needs for breakfast. The healthy migrant worker is still worried about how to combine eggs and milk and whether the protein is sufficient. At the same time, his mother is having a lot of fun with a bowl of porridge with an explosion of sugar index. After the millennium, children are served with fresh fruit and silky cheese at home. Why can’t they find them everywhere when they go out?
The breakfast industry seems to face tens of millions of people in a city. In fact, these people are divided into small groups with different habits and even ideas by region and age. If you unfortunately belong to a small group of small groups, then more fast and economical breakfast is just an extravagant hope that can not be reached by commercialization.
The attempt of chain fast food restaurants has not been successful. Do you have a chance to continue to introduce capital into the breakfast industry?
Can commercialization save our breakfast?
It is no secret that capital also focuses on the breakfast market. However, we have not been able to get out of the dilemma of breakfast, which just proves that capital is not omnipotent.
In 2018, the chain breakfast business project “boxima” jointly established by HEMA fresh and RT Mart clearly pushed the breakfast hall food business to the front, and in the middle of 2020, it even put forward the bold statement of “opening 1000 stores in Shanghai”; Also in 2020, Qianwei central kitchen, a supplier of quick-frozen rice flour products such as pizza hut, Haidilao and Sipu Sipu, unveiled the chain breakfast brand “breakfast master” that specializes in fried dough sticks and soybean milk, and plans to build 10000 stores nationwide in the next five years.
These plans were later vague. The impact of the epidemic is on the one hand, but more importantly, the location of most domestic chain catering enterprises is completely opposite to the demand for breakfast. People are unlikely to buy a breakfast in a commercial complex in the early morning of a tight working day. If a person really has such leisure and leisure, there are also brunch in Wagas, blueford and other restaurants waiting there.
At the beginning of 2021, box Xiaoma, which was once expected by Alibaba to “cover the whole line of Shanghai Metro and the core office business district”, sold all its equity to RT mart, and disappeared from the chain breakfast industry since then – in the end, the total number of chain stores opened by box Xiaoma in Shanghai has not exceeded 20.
Convenience stores are another way for capital to enter the breakfast market. It has to be said that this way is a little more “reliable” than building a breakfast system on the existing catering chain.
Whether in the traditional first tier cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, or in the new first tier cities of Xi’an and Hangzhou, from 7-11 to convenience bee, more and more chain convenience stores have already focused on breakfast: according to the report released by immente in 2016, among the respondents who were used to breakfast at that time, 29% of consumers chose to solve their breakfast needs through convenience stores.
Compared with the breakfast provided by foreign brands such as McDonald’s and KFC, the breakfast scheme put forward by local catering enterprises is at least better in terms of grounding. But can these local catering brands perfectly solve the problems of “lack of change”, “nutritional health” and “high cost” that perplex us all? Let’s start from the actual “first meal” experience:
After leaving the subway, I went upstairs to punch in, put down my computer bag and went downstairs to the store. Steaming steamed buns, corn and tea eggs had been waiting in the convenience store for a long time. As long as I had another porridge, today’s “first meal” could open smoothly. If you want to change your taste, you can choose from a variety of rice balls, cold noodles, sandwiches and milk in the freezer. If you don’t have enough, you can have another Kanto cook, or go directly to see small packages of biscuits and bread, or even take snacks from the convenience store to the nearby breakfast chain to order a soybean milk fried dough stick.
Although there is still a long way to go to meet the needs of “everyone is hard to adjust”, at least in terms of options, the SKU categories that can be provided by convenience stores + Chain breakfast stores are obviously too rich, at least they won’t get bored so soon.
However, although relatively rich combination options are provided to meet the basic needs of “diversity”, the pre packaged food produced formally also makes the meal quality and food safety problems no longer bothering, that is, the meal delivery efficiency of “order out” makes the migrant workers who have less trouble and food less likely to waste too much time – on the other hand, these are in line with the “first meal” experience of the fast-paced modern society, It also means twice or even more than three times the budget expenditure.
According to the survey report breakfast – China, 2016 released by Mintel, although convenience stores can provide a wide variety of food items, only 36% of consumers are willing to spend 10~29 yuan to solve the “first meal”; At the same time, nearly 70% of mainstream users are still willing to spend 3~9 yuan on the breakfast cart (basically understood as a self-employed business) to fill their stomachs. The gap is clear at a glance – however, this is not all. The real problem is, is it necessary to make up for the late “first meal”?
In addition, the coverage of convenience stores in China is not high. According to the top 100 of China’s convenience store enterprises in 2021, there are only three convenience stores in China with more than 20000 stores, and two of them are subordinate to Sinopec and PetroChina respectively – that is, the small store next to the gas station that attracts drivers and co drivers. It seems that it is not a very natural scene to enter the gas station to buy breakfast.
Besides these three convenience stores, there are no chain convenience stores with tens of thousands of stores in China. The well-known 7-11, Rosen and convenience bee in big cities actually belong to the “second echelon” of convenience stores, that is, about 2000~3000 stores, which simply can not cover a wide range of people.
Despite the high expectations, from the actual response of the market, convenience stores and chain breakfast stores are not the final solution to our breakfast needs.
In the “white collar breakfast report” released by convenience bee at the end of 2020, although 82.5% of convenience store consumers agreed that “breakfast should be eaten every day”, only 52.6% of the respondents actually formed this habit. As for why they refused breakfast, up to 82.71% of the respondents said that “there was not enough time”. In addition, “losing weight” and “saving money” were also important reasons. What is worth mentioning is that 94.2% of the respondents made it clear that they would control the cost of the “first meal” to less than 10 yuan – as long as we think about how much this consumption amount can buy in convenience stores, the answer is self-evident whether the “first meal” has replaced the real breakfast.
It can’t be said that it has no effect, but it is really unsatisfactory. This is the phased result of the capital x breakfast market at present. Considering the impact of objective factors such as economic cycle and epidemic situation, I am afraid that this situation will not change much in a short time. So, since commercialization has not brought miracles, is there any chance to save our breakfast?
Why stick to the rules
For many of us, the warm and vague “breakfast” is one of the most unforgettable symbols in our deep memory: whether it is plain boiled instant noodles, whether to add eggs or ham sausage, whether to boil the material bag in the pot or leave it at the bottom of the bowl for hot soup to boil, whether to put onion and cauliflower, everyone has their own unique taste – however, such tastes are unforgettable to us, Is it really the same?
In different times and environments, the food habits hatched can be quite different. It is natural to constantly adjust ideas to adapt to the current situation of continuous development. Those who once gave us a satisfied breakfast in the old generation, let them remain in the memory – I’m afraid there is no way.
Original title: small breakfast, difficult for migrant workers



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