I think they would ban me from going to the Alamo or something if I said it was something different. Due to this it has been reported that 23% of college students eat fast food daily and 50% of students reported eating at least 3 fast food meals per week (5). . , CBS Interactive, 31 Jan. 2002, www.cbsnews.com/news/americans-are-obsessed-with-fast-food-the-dark-side-of-the-all-american-meal/. Fast food and low prices go hand in and hand and that is one of the major factors of why Americans choose to eat fast food so often. Many people perceive fast food as the least expensive dining option available and therefore are drawn to it. Did that change from when you started? I mean, not everybody loves it, but it has this element of hucksterism to it, these insane ideas that get made. In the book, I talk with [journalist] Michael Pollan about him having conversations with some of his acolytes and his followers, basically asking them, “How would you feel, if one day, you woke up and McDonald’s was all organic, no GMO, no high fructose corn syrup?” And the people responded [that they would be] disappointed. In the 1990s Kentucky Fried Chicken actually shortened its name to KFC, because “fried” was actually [considered] such a bad word. For many people time is a major factor in their decision on where and what to eat. It definitely holds itself inadvertently as this sort of emblem of privation for certain communities. Drive-through windows soon followed. I grew up in Texas where it’s not polarizing to eat fast food. This statistic is important because lunch is a time in the middle of the day where people don’t have a lot of time. Print version: page 33. It was a really, really fascinating, beautiful story. Secondly, fast food is very cheap, a Big Mac meal from McDonald’s costs only $5.99 and includes a burger, fries and a drink (2). Almost everything on the menu was mass produced in a factory somewhere and then frozen and shipped out to the thousands of nearby storefront. One of the biggest contributing factors to fast food’s vast presence in America is its low cost. A study of college students showed that 46% of fast food meals eaten were at lunch time (9). The actual benefit or attraction of opening a fast food restaurant is self-evident. Fast food is everywhere. , 1 Apr. The 50 Most Popular Fast Food Chains in America. 2010, www.fasebj.org/doi/abs/10.1096/fasebj.24.1_supplement.940.4. Finally, getting a meal from a fast food restaurant is quick, in most cases your food will be prepared and served in well under 10 minutes. And so, if we’re talking about improving American diets, the Impossible Burger is probably not the answer. It is a place that people go to, along with corner stores, that don’t have a lot of nutritious and nutrient-dense foods. They introduced a way to eat food without knives, forks or plates. With fast food meals being so cheap, this means that a person can stretch their dollar much further going to a fast food restaurant rather than preparing their own food or going out to eat at a traditional sit-down restaurant. The typical american spends $1200 annually on fast food (6). Fast food companies have recognized this and tailored their marketing and pricing strategies to fit that mindset. Is this just the latest example of what industry insiders call “stealth health”? Since you finished writing your book, Burger King introduced the plant-based Impossible Burger in many of its stores. The history of fast food in America runs parallel to the invention of the car. The passion Americans feel about fast food is at the heart of journalist Adam Chandler’s new book, Drive-Thru Dreams. With the family-oriented culture in America at that time, focused heavily on children first, fast food restaurant excursions were fun and affordable family affairs offering culinary delights for all ages. Fast food is extremely easy to obtain, in most cases you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your car to enjoy a meal. It’s not something that the core fast food consumer is really sweating in a way that you maybe hear about more on the coasts or in certain enclaves where the focus is more on changing dietary habits and improving the food systems. For a long time, fast food was tied to suburban life, but in the late 1960s, companies made an effort to open franchises in urban areas. It was White Castle, a hamburger joint that opened in Wichita, Kansas, in 1916. Almost everything on the menu was mass produced in a factory somewhere and then frozen and shipped out to the thousands of nearby storefront. The way in which McDonald’s serves their food is one important factor in its convenience. Many people perceive fast food as the least expensive dining option available and therefore are drawn to it. For example, many college students find it hard to find time in their day to cook or go out and sit down for a healthy meal. These factors are the main contributors to fast food’s popularity in the United States and due to all of these factors, fast food in America has been on a steady increase for years and will not slow down anytime soon. A lot of people just don’t want the food to change. And then there’s the food. Over a quarter of American adults eat fast food daily(1). Your book is full of entertaining anecdotes, like KFC Christmas in Japan. Staff, CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com. Fast food is a presence in almost everybody’s life on a daily basis. Advertising Notice Fast food plays into this narrative and advertises it heavily in order to retain this portion of the market and therefore maintain its overwhelming presence in American society. It’s familiar, it’s easily reproduced, and it’s popular and relatively cheap. White Castle adopted this model—they had food that was prepared quickly in a very highly mechanized, highly systematized way. With most meals at McDonald’s you don’t need any kind of cutlery to eat your meal, just your hands will do. Stop blaming people or their genes--it's an abundance of unhealthy, heavily advertised, low-cost food that underlies the nation's obesity crisis. The food is terrible, and it’s delicious, and it’s completely ridiculous and we love it. “Fast-Food Consumption among College Students and Their Attitudes toward Healthier Fast-Food Options.”. , www.creditdonkey.com/fast-food-statistics.html#fast. It’s a more incremental version of change to the burger process, it's “Try this out, it's a little healthier” and I think you can mentally make that adjustment a little bit easier than to something that is grown in a lab and has its own baggage. McDonald’s is the most popular fast food restaurant, with over 37,000 locations. I also really enjoyed the graphics you provided and think that it contributed to the overall quality of the blog post! This post made me think about how the fast food industry has varying affects in people’s lives and truly has increased in popularity. This staggeringly large number perfectly exemplifies the magnitude of the obsession that Americans have with fast food. So, as much as the drive-through has been and remains such a dominating force in the United States, we’re seeing Uber Eats, Seamless, DoorDash and all of these new companies involve themselves in fast food in a totally unexpected way. America started driving more than ever before and we rearranged our cities based on car travel, for better or worse. Burger King was the first national chain to have a veggie burger on their menu and it’s had one since ’02 or ’03. Fast food [took off] in large part because of the highway system that we built in the 1950s and the1960s. The final reason why fast food is so popular in America is because the time between placing your order and receiving your food is very short. Because of this, over 20% of American meals are eaten in cars (4), a concept that didn’t exist before fast food. Any kind of service [where] you see a franchise for a lot of people traces back to the roots of McDonald’s being a truly national brand. Because of its convenience, fast food has a firm grip over a large part of the American food economy. The fact that many college students elected to eat fast food for lunch shows that they believe fast food is the quickest, and therefore best, option for their mid-day meal. From burgers to pad thai, there’s a quick service restaurant that’ll satisfy almost any appetite. Over a quarter of American adults eat fast food daily(1), There are many factors that contribute to America’s obsession with fast food. I personally can’t think of anything that sounds less appealing to me than having a burger you’re probably supposed to eat within 5 or 10 minutes delivered to your door in 20 or 30, but it’s proven to be extremely popular. One of the biggest contributing factors to fast food’s vast presence in America is its low cost. A quick bite of hearty, inexpensive food was news eagerly shared among travelers. The fast food industry in America today employs more than four million workers to prepare and serve the growing list of foods and cuisines offered at low prices to hungry patrons who can often dine in or take out. or This cuts down almost all the prep time that the “cooks” need so that your order will be prepared in mere minutes. [White Castle] had these efficiencies built into it that really spoke to the fascinations of the era. “Americans Are Obsessed with Fast Food: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal.”. The paper had just released its “official fast food French fry rankings” and the food columnist, Lucas Kwan Peterson, dared to list In-N-Out, the beloved chain founded in the 1940s in Baldwin Park, east of L.A., at the absolute bottom. How fast food affect culture here is that people do not know or think about what is in the food they eat. And his family and friends gather, and they all go out to Taco Bell after the funeral, and they eat their Doritos Locos Tacos. We’ve become such a fast food nation that the once-traditional, sit-down dining experience presented in slower, more formal style is often reserved for special occasions if at all. Do you have a favorite story from the book? Please pay attention that “Fast Food in USA” does not take responsibility for any restaurants’ prices‚ menus‚ ingredients‚ locations etc. These two industries are so intertwined that most people today think of fast food as anything being served out of a window and into an automobile. . Abraham, Sam, et al. Mostly because it involves a really terrific person who, in the most relatable way, was sitting on his couch eating Taco Bell and saw a Doritos commercial and thought, “This is exactly what I want to have—a Doritos-flavored taco shell.” He lobbied Frito-Lay to create the shells, and they said, “No, we can’t do that.”. Privacy Statement When I find a fellow Taco Bell traveler on the road, I immediately feel closer to that person. One of Peterson’s colleagues registered her discontent tweeting sardonically, “hello i am the social media intern and have to share this but i totally dont [sic] agree with it.” In-N-Out fans, fuming that one longstanding Southern California institution would betray another, made their fury known across the social media platform and in the Times’ comments sections. I think I would be betraying my sweet Texas roots if I didn’t say it remains my favorite. For many people time is a major factor in their decision on where and what to eat. . , www.fastfoodmenuprices.com/mcdonalds-prices/. This means that their meals can be eaten anywhere at any time. That only increased during my time on the road because the way that people feel about Taco Bell is different than people feel about a lot of chains, at least national chains. Coffee shops serve up beverages lavishly prepared and smoothies are a fast food beverage option that caters to the health-conscious crowd. Fast food companies have recognized this and tailored their marketing and pricing strategies to fit that mindset.