Fast food, a type of mass-produced food that is prepared and served very quickly. It began with the first fish and chip shops in Britain in the 1860s. Drive-through restaurants were first popularised in the 1950s in the United States. The food typically less nutritionally valuable compared to other foods and dishes.
Let’s see some random facts!
1. The concept of ready-cooked food for sale is closely connected with urban development.
2. In Ancient Rome, cities had street stands – a large counter with a receptacle in the middle from which food or drink would have been served.
3. It was during post-WWII American economic boom that Americans began to spend more and buy more as the economy boomed and a culture of consumerism bloomed.
4. As a result of this new desire to have it all, coupled with the strides made by women while the men were away, both members of the household began to work outside the home.
5. Eating out, which had previously been considered a luxury, became a common occurrence, and then a necessity. Workers, and working families, needed quick service and inexpensive food for both lunch and dinner.
6. This need is what drove the phenomenal success of the early fast food giants, which catered to the family on the go.
7. Fast food became an easy option for a busy family, as is the case for many families today.
8. While any meal with low preparation time can be considered fast food, typically the term refers to food sold in a restaurant or store with preheated or precooked ingredients, and served to the customer in a packaged form for take-out/take-away.
9. Fast food restaurants are traditionally distinguished by their ability to serve food via a drive-through.
10. The term “fast food” was recognized in a dictionary by Merriam–Webster in 1951.
11. Outlets may be stands or kiosks, which may provide no shelter or seating, or fast food restaurants (also known as quick service restaurants).
12. Franchise operations that are part of restaurant chains have standardized foodstuffs shipped to each restaurant from central locations.
13. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), fast foods are quick alternatives to home-cooked meals. They are also high in saturated fat, sugar, salt and calories.
14. Eating too much fast food has been linked to, among other things, colorectal cancer, obesity and high cholesterol.
15. The traditional family dinner is increasingly being replaced by the consumption of takeaway, or eating “on the run”.
16. The time invested on food preparation is getting lower and lower, with an average couple in the United States spending 47 minutes and 19 minutes per day, carrying out food preparation.
17. In 1970, Americans spent about $6 billion on fast food. In 2014, the spending rose to nearly 200 billion. By 2020, the number is expected to be over $223 billion.
18. Proportionally, hash browns have more fat and calories than a cheeseburger or Big Mac.
19. During the early 1900s, the hamburger was thought to be polluted, unsafe to eat, and food for the poor. Street carts, not restaurants, typically served them.
20. Late comedian and talk-show host Johnny Carson labeled the hamburger the “McClog the Artery.”
21. Children who regularly eat fast food do worse in school than their peers.
22. Every month, approximately nine out of 10 American children visit a McDonald’s restaurant.
23. At some fast food chains, both in U.S. and in other countries, managers are rewarded bonuses when they reduce employee wages to save money.
24. To keep salaries low, McDonald’s and other fast food chains have intentionally engaged in anti-union activities
25. Today, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo products are sold in every country in the world, except North Korea.
26. In 2005, Advertisting Age cited Ronald McDonald as the number two top-10 advertising icons of the twentieth century. The Marlboro Man was number one.
27. The first located printed reference to hamburgers appeared in the Los Angeles Times in 1894.
28. There are more than 300,000 fast food restaurants in the U.S. alone.
29. Due to anti-German sentiment during WWI, an alternative name for a hamburger (which was derived from the Hamburg steak sandwiches eaten on immigrant ships between Hamburg, Germany, and America in the 1800s) was “salisbury steak.” It was named after Dr. Salisbury who prescribed ground beef for patients suffering from anemia, asthma, and other illnesses.
30. The popularization of the automobile resulted in “flashier” fast food restaurant architecture to catch the attention of drivers. This lasted until the 1970s when communities began to complain about the exaggerated buildings.
31. A&W Root Beer is named after Roy Allen and Frank Wright, the founders of the company. Allen bought the recipe from a pharmacist who had perfected it for making root beer. A&W was one of the first fast food franchises.
32. A soda a day can age you by as many as 4.6 additional years.
34. Caffeine is the most commonly used drug in the world, and high doses can have serious health effects, including muscle weakness, heart irregularities, and infertility. Children and teenagers consume more than 64 gallons of soft drinks per year.
35. Television greatly expanded the ability of advertisers to reach children and try to develop brand loyalty early in life. Today the average American child sees more than 10,000 food advertisements each year on television.
36. Fast food companies, the movie industry, and theme parks have a long and financially lucrative relationship.
37. The companies seek to promote and “product place” one another for incredible profit. For example, Frito Lay sponsors the California Screamin’ roller coaster at Disneyland, and movies intentionally feature a type of fast food (e.g., Pizza Hut in Wayne’s World).
38. Advertising Age selected the McDonald’s slogan “You Deserve a Break Today” as the best advertising campaign of the twentieth century. Other notable slogans were Burger King’s “Burger King, Home of the Whopper” and Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?”
39. In 1949, Richard and Maurice McDonald opened the first McDonald’s restaurant in San Bernardino, California: the McDonald Brothers Burger Bar Drive-In.
40. McDonald’s is Brazil’s largest employer.
41. Chinese takeaways/takeout restaurants are particularly popular in Western countries such as the US and UK. They normally offer a wide variety of Asian food (not always Chinese), which has normally been fried. Most options are some form of noodles, rice, or meat.
42. Sushi has seen rapidly rising popularity recently in the Western world. A form of fast food created in Japan (where bentō is the Japanese variety of fast food), sushi is normally cold sticky rice flavored with a sweet rice vinegar and served with some topping (often fish), or, as in the most popular kind in the West, rolled in nori (dried laver) with filling. The filling often includes fish, seafood, chicken or cucumber.
43. Fish and chip shops are a form of fast food popular in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Fish is battered and then deep fried, and served with deep fried potato strips.
44. The popularization of the drive-thru led car manufacturers in the 1990s to install cup holders in the dashboards. As fast food drinks became larger, so did the cup holders.
45. The fast food industry has dramatically affected how cattle and chickens are raised, slaughtered, and processed. It also encouraged consolidation in the meatpacking industry, such that there are now only 13 major meatpackers in America.
46. McDonald’s is the largest purchaser of beef and has great influence over meatpacking practices.
47. A genetically engineered hormone called rBGH is given to cows in the U.S. to increase milk production—even though its chemical byproducts may be carcinogenic. Residues of rBGH have been found in meat products, such as hamburgers sold in fast food chains.
48. Eating fast food can result in high levels of insulin, which has been linked to rising incidences of Type 2 Diabetes. In fact, more than 600,000 new cases of diabetes are diagnosed each year.
49. When it was revealed in 1990 that McDonald’s used beef tallow to flavor its french fries, Hindu vegetarian customers in Mumbai, India, ransacked a McDonald’s restaurant and smeared cow dung on a statue of Ronald MacDonald.
50. Dangerous fast food ingredients that have been linked to various cancers and/or obesity includes MSG, trans fat, sodium nitrite, BHA, BHT, propyl gallate, aspartame, Acesulfame-K, Olestra, potassium bromate, and food coloring Blue 1 and 2, Red 3, Green 3, and Yellow 6.
51. The American Heart Association recommends a maximum of no more than 2 grams of trans fat per day. A person should eat no more than 1,000-3,000 mg of sodium per day. Men need about 2,700 calories a day, while women need about 2,000 per day.