There are several things we seem to like about our fast food – it’s cheap, it’s tasty, and it saves time.
What was originally an occasional indulgence or a stop gap seems to have become part of the staple diet of some countries, and the reasons for this are all entwined with each other.
Fast Food Tastes Good
We are genetically programmed to enjoy the tastes of fat and sugar, and much of the fast food that we consume tends to be full of both, with a side order of salt to boot.
A study in 2003 controversially suggested that fast food was as addictive as heroin due to the sugar and fat content, and that some people simply couldn’t stop eating it because their bodes craved the taste.
It was also suggested that eating these foods created what they described as ‘pleasure chemicals’ in people susceptible to the addiction. This theory could well be borne out by the 2008 survey that showed 44% of Americans and 45% of Brits didn’t think they could give up their fast food fix because it tasted so good...
Fast Food Availability
The sheer variety of fast and convenient foods that are now available to us makes it easy for us to grab a quick bite while out shopping, order in a Chinese takeaway when we can’t be bothered to cook, or put one of thousands of variations on the chilled and frozen ready meal in the microwave when we’re in a hurry.
We can go to a petrol station and leave with a coffee and a microwave meal in a tray that we’ve heated up on their premises! People are paid to drop countless takeaway leaflets through letterboxes up and down the country, so there’s no shortage of numbers to dial if you want pizza, Indian, Chinese or any other delicacy that can be delivered.
If you’re feeling really lazy you can programme all of your favourite takeaway numbers into your phone, and just speed dial your order for delivery...or even better why not go online and call up your favourite order, pay with stored credit card details and have the whole shebang delivered to your door. Eat it from the box and you won’t even have to do any washing up!
It’s Cheap To Eat Fast Food
Well, some fast food is cheaper than others, but the whole premise of McDonalds, for example, is Ray Kwok’s method of getting the food prepared as fast and cheaply as possible. The more cheaply the food was sourced and prepared, the cheaper it could be sold to the masses, and so the appeal was magnified.
Frozen and chilled ready meals can be bought cheaply from many supermarkets, and save the cost of individual ingredients as well as cooking and preparation time. Some ready meals can be even bought in a can ready to be heated in a saucepan. Quick, cheap and easy.
Gone are the days where most mums were at home with the kids and could spend time preparing every day’s meal from scratch. Most households now have both parents, or the lone parent out at work, and time poor parents tend to rely on convenience foods after a long day.
It’s not that we don’t want to cook when we get home – it’s just that by the time we do get back from a day in the office, or wherever, we don’t have time.
More and more people live alone, too, so there’s more reliance on meals for one and eating out instead of cooking a meal from fresh ingredients just to sit and eat it alone in front of the television. Lifestyles have changed to make home cooking a luxury for most of us, while throwing something in the microwave or ordering in seems like the better, faster option!