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America's Love Affair With Fast Food; Why?
Looking back in history
What is it that makes fast food so popular? And why is that after knowing the unhealthy stats, we still run to it like obsessed addicts?
Looking back in history,
In 1940, brothers Maurice and Richard ("Mac" and "Dick") McDonald opened a restaurant in San Bernardino, California. The restaurant was named "McDonald's Famous Barbeque" and served over forty barbequed items.
After realizing that their profit came from selling burgers and not barbeque, in October 1948, the restaurant was closed down, and reopened in December of that year as a "Fast Food" joint with a simple menu of just hamburgers, cheeseburgers, french fries, shakes, soft drinks, and apple pie. The kitchen was redesigned to ensure maximum efficiency, like a 'factory' an assembly line was introduced. They called this restaurant 'McDonald's'.
Phenomenal growth actually started in the 1960s and 1970s when they started advertising with their golden arc campaign "Look for the Golden Arches".
But is McDonald's to be credited, or blamed, for this boisterous fast food industry, or for introducing fast food to America?
Introducing other fast food chains:
A&W began in June 1919 in California, when Frank Wright partnered with Roy Allen mostly selling root beer. 1960, 2000 A & W restaurants in the US opened up selling burgers, fries, drinks, etc.
White Castle was founded in 1921 in Wichita, Kansas. Anderson, one of the owner of white castle is the actual designer of the assembly line kitchen, thus, giving rise to the modern fast food phenomenon. He was also credit with the creation burger buns.
What other factors have played a role in making fast food the billion-dollar industry that exists in America?
Factor 1: Women and Work
July 1920, women in America were rolling up their sleeves and joining the workforce. The New York Times ran a head line that read: "The American Woman ... has lifted her skirts far beyond any modest limitation" which did not imply to just fashion.
The revolution that called for women to go out and work in 1890 did not come into full bloom until the 1970s. In that time, women's expectations of future employment changed. Women became the secondary earners, and Labor force participation by women grew significantly.
By now, great number of families had both parents working a nine to five jobs. Needless to say, that leaves little time in the kitchen. Though many people do pull it off, a greater number of Americans simply can't, and that results in them picking up fast food on a regular bases.
Factor 2 : The rise in single parenting in the United States.
A report released by the U.S. Census Bureau in November, 2009, said:
"There are 13.7 million single moms and dads currently raising their children in the U.S.
53.7% of custodial single parents work full-time, year-round and 27.7% of custodial single parents work either part-time or part-year."
This has lent greatly to our nations near-dependence on fast food. Countless parents are left with the unfortunate option that providing for their children by working long hours means risking their health by having to get them fast food regularly. In these cases, the parents and the child become almost addicted. The consistent salty flavors and soft textures are the most pleasing to our brains, so it usually reaches the point that every other food cannot measure up. For the parents especially, the addiction comes into play with the convenience and low price, to the point where buying actual groceries or spending extra money on fresh vegetables is preposterous.
WE DON'T HAVE TIME!
Factor 3: Probably the most important factor, Advertisement!
It's every where! Your home, work, car, computer, and even in your cell phones! You cannot avoid it. Huge billboards inviting you to take the next turn, and come and join us, not just one but several fast food restaurant to choose from. The temptations are everywhere. Fast food advertising industries are enormous conglomerates; they know exactly what to say and show every demographic to make them want to come to their restaurant. It may seem innocent, or like worrying about it is a silly conspiracy theory, but they spend billions on that aspect alone, probably more than they actually spend on food costs. Its serious.
Factor 4: Time and Convince
The generation that we are in is always rushing, especially here in America. From morning till evening. Have you noticed the increase in all these articles and shows and sites, how much they are talking about spending time with your family? So what do you do as guilty spouse, a guilty parent.. Let's go spend some time together.. Let's eat out, and the children all scream in unison "McDonald's"!!!
Its easier to take kids out to Burger King then to cook a meal after a hard day. What used to be an occasion to go out and eat at a fast food restaurant, has become a deadly, I mean daily, routine.
Although, fast food restaurant are introducing lot of healthy options, they are not 'substituting' the old menu with the healthy menu, they are merely adding to the old menu! What does this do? It is basically increasing their customers, hence their profits. Isn't that what it is all about? They still have their old customers who are hooked, now they want to bring in the ones who were avoiding the 'unhealthy' fast foods, hence, the enticing 'healthy' menu'. It's called 'Target Marketing'.
It took almost more than a century to reach this point. Fast food is engraved in our brains, it runs through our blood, it would take longer to get ride of this phenomenal love-affair with this vast industry.
- Reasons to Never Eat Fast Food Again
Reasons that we should say no to fast food include the lack of nutrition, high cost, and effects on mental health.