Bachelor Chow

BachelorChowLike many other things in life, a comedy show had things absolutely spot on. In this case Futurama has in it a fictitious product called Bachelor Chow, which functions as a pet food, but for humans; specifically middle-aged men that don’t cook. I’m a college grad student, and I don’t cook. What I want is a meal, that’s both cheap and something that I can survive on. If we can scientifically formulate food for our pets, why don’t we do it for ourselves? The fact is that our society doesn’t make healthy living very easy; this is especially so for those without the inclination to cook.

Of course, since this idea is not new I’ve gathered some links to others that have actually made some meager (and not so meager) attempts:

  • speculates that we should make such a food reality. In his first post he makes good points about nutritional balance, and sets some ground rules:
    1. Nutritional needs shift as you age.
    2. Meals should cost no more than an average restaurant lunch.
    3. Preparation time should not exceed 15 mins

    In his second post he actually lays out an eating schedule that is nearly perfect in all major vitamin and mineral categories. Due to his engineering approach, he actually achieves his goals on cost, and doesn’t do too badly on flavor or variety (fruits and vegetables can always be swapped and rotated around).

  • Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) had once tried and marketed the DILBERITO, which had very high nutritional value. It was created because Adams himself figured that someone could make a ton of money if they created a healthy, easy to prepare meal. Unfortunately, it didn’t stay.
  • The Strategic retreat comments on basic nutrition in America and the dietary habits of our indigent welfare, concluding that

    all U.S. citizens should have the option of eating cheap but nutritious Bachelor Chow. If you’re a U.S. citizen you should be entitled to a daily gallon of water, a bowl of bachelor chow, a tube to sleep in and library access. If you want a hostess cup cake, that’s fine; but it’s not food so you’ll have to work for it.

  • Of course I must mention that our own armed forces have faced this problem before, and came up with the popular (among campers anyway) MRE. (I think they’re delicious).

I’d like to add some suggestions of my own:

  1. One of the biggest difficulties with making Bachelor Chow a real product is variety. Humans really like to have variety in their diet. I think that this is a fairly easy to solve problem: make a series of main courses and side dishes, letting the customer mix and match according to their preference. This also helps to solve the problem of changing nutrition needs with age and gender. (IKEA does this with some of their furniture lines, it works well)
  2. Keep amount of packaging to a minimum. Favor production of bulk amounts in resealable containers over individually wrapped packages. The amount of packaging involved in an MRE is appalling.
  3. Make vegetarian and vegan options. MRE and the Dilberito were really good about this.
  4. Cut way down on salt and sugar. When making processed foods, it’s really easy to slip these in for flavor. I’d have thought that canned soups would make a good bachelor chow, but they have far too much salt. Besides, ordinary Americans will get enough of these elsewhere without even trying.
  5. Marketing is gonna be a really big challenge. I don’t think piggy backing on something else’s fame will work. It’ll probably work best if targeted as a healthy living, weight loss, design your own meal program sold through ordinary supermarkets (next to the microwave meals and/or breakfast cereals).

I should also note that the movie Supersize Me was worth watching for the commentary on our school cafeteria menus, and the fact that Micky D’s ruined his sex life.