Gen Y and the cost of convenience

By Georgia Scapens for FoodSt

I’m Gen Y, and I consider myself relatively aware when it comes to my wellbeing and the health of our planet. I work hard, I take the bus instead of driving, I understand good nutrition and I take pride in keeping myself fit. I do not eat fast food. (Okay, a handful of times I might have been guilty of asking my Uber driver to swing by the McDonald’s drive-thru, but that is rare, honestly.)

But fast food doesn’t just mean junk food; it also includes a whole range of convenience groceries that are fairly healthy for our bodies (and are total lifesavers when we only have a brief window to eat, shower and make it to the pub quiz), and I am a consumer.

Here’s my guilty habit: I buy pre-cooked rice in little pouches. I’m a particular fan of a brown rice and quinoa combo, and I patently do not have time to cook brown rice from scratch most nights.  So I cut a few corners, and you know what? I pay about four times as much for the convenience. It costs $2.80 for a 250g pouch of steamed brown rice, but only $3.20 for an entire kilogram of the uncooked stuff. So even if I only eat it twice a week, then over a year I’m spending about $300 instead of $80. And that’s just the rice pouches! Don’t even get me started on the single serve yoghurts.

And even if I didn’t think $300 a year was enough to sacrifice my routine, the environmental impact alone is enough to change my habits. Every single one of those pouches is taking up valuable space in our recycling plants or landfills. Every one of them has required factories to cook and package the rice, and trucks to transport it around the country.  

So I am pledging to take a second look at my reliance on convenience foods, and to stop my naughty pre-cooked rice habit. I’m finding a way to work in a brown-rice cook-up a couple of times a week instead. A little corner-cutting is completely acceptable (Gen Y are known for our laziness efficiency, aren’t we?) but we have to find ways to do it without taking a toll on our planet.

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