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We all see the advertising and marketing for the big fast food chains such as, McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s everywhere we go, it is hard to miss. A hefty majority of Americans continue to eat there a few times a week even though it is well-known this poor excuse for food is extremely unhealthy. It is just so convenient, they can be found everywhere, they have cheap prices, and the food tastes so good. It is a common misconception that these places are still acceptable to go to. Fast food has emerged into the most prominent symbol of American society, and that does not appear to be changing anytime soon.
The McDonalds Corporation has become a powerful symbol of America’s service economy, which is now responsible for 90 percent of the country’s new jobs. In 1968, McDonalds operated about one thousand restaurants. Today it has about thirty thousand restaurants worldwide and opens almost two thousand each year. An estimated one out of every eight workers in the United States has at some point been employed by McDonalds. The company annually hires about one million people, more than any other American Organization, public or private. (Schlosser 5).
As a nutritionist, this information absolutely baffles me. Something must be done to stop this vicious cycle. Fast food is remarkably unhealthy yet these chains just continue to expand and become more popular. McDonalds fries distinctive taste “does not stem from the type of potatoes that they buy, the technology that processes them, or the restaurant equipment that fries them… for decades McDonalds cooked its French fries in a mixture of about 7 percent cottonseed oil and 93 percent beef tallow. ” (Schlosser 119). That explains the great taste.
However, in 1990, McDonalds switched to cooking the fries with pure vegetable oil due to criticism over the amount of cholesterol with the beef tallow. McDonalds needed a new way to get the same great taste so they added what they call on the ingredient list “natural flavor”. This term is just another name for man-made additives. That is the source of the great taste not only used for McDonald’s fries, but most of the processed foods we eat. “About 90 percent of the money that Americans spend on food is used to buy processed foods.
But the canning, freezing and dehydrating techniques used to process food destroy most of its flavor. ” (Schlosser 120). So instead these companies just add a bunch of man-made chemicals to this unnatural food so it tastes like the real stuff. The industry which makes these flavoring additives is very secretive. Fast food companies do not want the public to know that what they taste when they eat that food is actually just a bunch of chemicals we know little about. International Flavors and Fragrances is located in Dayton, New Jersey and they are the world’s largest company in this industry.
McDonalds and other fast food corporations are great at marketing and advertising. Memory and smell are very closely linked. During childhood, people develop their likes and dislikes. They will remember happy times eating the fast food that tastes so good, and subconsciously be attached. Therefore, another technique these corporations use is to target children with items like “Happy Meals”. The taste and smell of this food will evoke those good memories and this partially explains why some people crave this food all the time and are such frequent customers.
Studies show that color also has a large effect on how taste is perceived. Fast food companies also use man-made additives to develop right color for the food. It is amazing how big of an impact all these additives have had on our whole society, when the majority of the population does not even know they exist. “The human craving for flavor has been a largely unacknowledged and unexamined force in history. For millennia royal empires have been built, unexplored lands traversed, and great religions and philosophies forever changed by the spice trade.
In 1492 Christopher Columbus set sail to find seasoning. Today the influence of flavor in the world marketplace is no less decisive. The rise and fall of corporate empires — of soft-drink companies, snack-food companies, and fast-food chains — is often determined by how their products taste. ” (Schlosser 123). After decades of researching and experimenting fast food companies have developed foods that will basically trick the customers into coming back. Nutritionally, these foods are absolutely horrible for us.
They mix all kinds of different chemicals and unhealthy ingredients to make exactly what people desire. I certainly agree with Schlosser’s opinions on the issue. These fast food companies are just going to keep expanding and becoming more popular too, unless something is done about this very soon. McDonalds alone already has about thirty thousand restaurants worldwide and is expanding very rapidly. The public must become aware of this information, avoid the temptation and make smarter choices. Works Cited Schlosser, Eric. Fast Food Nation. Boston, Ma: HarperCollins Publishers, July, 2005.