As consumption of canned tuna fell 40 percent over the past three decades, executives of the fishy business are wagging their fingers at one pesky age group, claiming they don’t know how to use a can opener. “A lot of millennials don’t even own can openers,” Andy Mecs, vice president of marketing and innovation for Pittsburgh-based StarKist, told the Wall Street Journal last week.
That can’t be true, can it? Jimmy Kimmel had a hard time believing it, and I—a millennial who cooks frequently—found myself wondering what kind of heathen doesn’t own a can opener. Members of Kimmel’s team wandered around Los Angeles with can openers trying to get various young people to prove they could operate them. Of over half a dozen attempts, only one person could do it. One woman broke the can opener twice, and a young guy asked for a butcher knife.
“We’re pretty capable, I feel like,” said the only millennial who succeeded.
Sure, maybe some young folks don’t know how to use can openers, but the onus isn't on us—shouldn't the market adapt to consumers? Put tuna in easier-to-open jars if you’re so concerned about selling it, or find a way to make it smell less, or make it significantly less harmful to the environment.