Last week’s post included various statistics that demonstrated the depth and breadth of the world’s fascination and borderline addiction to the fast food industry. The previous post also ended with a question, inquiring as to how these statistics speak to the grip that the fast food industry has on America’s food culture as well as consumers from all over the world. In truth, the answer to this question is both intricate and complex, and probably cannot be answered in one blog post… (but I’m going to be Miss Optimistic and try my best)! After you read the information, please don’t hesitate to comment and share your own thoughts/answer a few of the questions below about the fast food industry’s affect on our world.
Is efficiency or quality more important to you?
The fast food industry not only understands our innate desire for efficiency and increased speed, but they are also able to manipulate this craving we have for more time. The drive-thru is probably the most ingenious manner in which the fast food industry has changed what it means to have a meal on the go. Interestingly, in the United States alone, there are approximately 200,000 fast food restaurants that offer a drive-thru for their customers. A consumer has the ability to remain in their car throughout the entire fast food experience, from ordering, to picking-up, to eating their purchased goods. In thinking about how this changes our eating experience, it certainly seems as though fast food offers us all a “Meal-Free Meal.” Now it is possible to consume an entire meal without a plate, without silverware, without a table, and most of the time, even without loved ones. Fast food and its drive-thrus are without a doubt more convenient, yet the concept of fast food sacrifices the quality of the eating experience (Bratskeir).
Does the color blue intensify your appetite or does it detract from it?
The majority of people would respond to the question above by stating that the color blue detracts from their appetite. The fast food industry is fully aware of this (Ronald McDonald wears a red and yellow suit for a reason)! Therefore, they tailor each and every one of their marketing campaigns, advertising ploys, and sponsors to revolve around warm colors (reds, oranges, yellows), instead of cool colors (greens, blues, purples) to initially cultivate and then continually intensify a consumer’s desire for their product (Bratskeir).
Are children more vulnerable to fast food advertising methods than adults?
After conducting a study to decipher the quantity of food ads that children watch each day, the Yale Rudd Center has revealed that in 2013, children viewed about 13 food ads daily (Bratskeir). This is approximately 4,745 food ads per year (Bratskeir)! Time and time again, the fast food industry proves to have its grip on the pulse of culture (Horovitz). Probably no better example of this is how the processed food industry has adapted its advertising strategies in order to keep up with the ways in which technology has changed the ways in which we communicate (Horovitz). What was once a marketing strategy built entirely on television advertisements, the fast food industry has now expanded its advertising grip to social media and the Internet (Horovitz). In fact, Ronald McDonald has his own website and “Ronaldgrams” (videos, photos, etc.) promote word of mouth information about the happenings in the fast food world (Horovitz).
Do you eat first with your eyes, or do you eat first with your nose?
Regardless of your answer, the fast food industry has made allowances so your eyes can like what they see and your nose can smell something appetizing before you order your meal. “Aroma marketing” actually intensifies your body’s construction of a chemical called ghrelin which makes you feel hungry, quickly. At the majority of fast food restaurants, a consumer orders their meal in the front of the store, while simultaneously smelling their food being cooked or fried in ovens or fryers much closer than they may appear. Furthermore, billboard marketing and the massive expanses of hamburgers, french fries, and milkshakes in advertisements also can often consume your mind, making it difficult to focus on anything but the billboard you just saw (Bratskeir).
I’ve always found consumption to be such a vivid indicator of a culture and its values. The food and beverages that we choose to consume reveal who we are just as much as the music we listen to, the art we create, and the language we speak. If we consume fast food to the degree that the statistics suggest, what does this say about what we value as a collective society?
Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,
Bratskeir, Kate. “Six Not-So-Subtle Ways Fast Food Joints Make You Want To Eat At Their Restaurants.” Huffington Post June 2014: TheHuffingtonPost.com Incorporated, Web. 24 Feb. 2015. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/16/fast-food-marketing_n_5366297.html>
Horovitz, Bruce. “Ronald McDonald is reaching out to kids online.” USA Today March 2011: Gannett Co. Incorporated, Web. 24 Feb. 2015. <http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2011-03-31-ronald-mcdonald-goes-digital.htm>