America's Fast Food Obsession

Topics: Junk Food

When people come home from work after a long tiring day, do they really want to cook that healthy dinner? No, not really. So, what do they do instead? They go to their local McDonald’s, and then buy those 2 McChickens. Not only is fast food recognizable, it tastes really good, and it’s very convenient and for those reasons, people often will pick the fast food diet.

What’s the McDonald’s slogan? I’m lovin’ it. How about Dairy Queen’s? It’s not fast food, it’s fan food.

And Subway’s? Ok I think I’ve made my point. We as American’s are constantly bombarded by commercials or signs for fast food restaurants, so much so that it’s almost unnecessary. We all know that these places exist, and we also know what they have to offer. So why do they still decide to spend millions or billions of dollars on advertising alone? It’s to remind people, to make sure that their company sticks in the back of your head.

I don’t know how many times I’ve been mid conversation or even sentence (with the television on in the background), and I’ve gone “Arby’s – we have the meats (for sandwiches)”, or “Red Robin’s – YUMMM.” Companies are constantly trying to remind you to come to the restaurant by promoting new deals or toys (for children) in their advertisements. Not only are their commercials constantly on the tv or on the radio, but they also have giant signs that you can see from miles away, regardless if people are driving on the freeway, or in town.

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Also, it’s really hard to drive through town without seeing a fast food place on every other corner, or every exit on the freeway. This is just another reminder that they’re there if your hungry on low on time or money and can’t afford to go somewhere else

According to How Fast Food Advertisements Get Under Your Skin, Whether You Realize It or Not, after seeing fast food advertisements, people’s mouths might start salivating, and they’ll get hungry. Meaning they’ll go into their kitchen and look around for something that might satisfy their want for that big mac, and when they can’t find it in they’re own house, they’ll go to the nearest McDonald’s and buy it (Pirnia). Which is entirely understandable, because it’s hard to see something that looks so good, and not be able to eat it right away. Another way that advertisements generally can convince people to go to their franchise, it by advertising to kids. Often if kids see something, they like on tv, they will constantly bring it up to their parent until they give and them that Happy Meal that comes with that toy they so desperately “need”. According to How Television Fast Food Marketing Aimed at Children Compares with Adult Advertisements, “toy premiums or giveaways were present in 69% [of meal advertisement for children]” (Bernhardt). Meaning that kids are also getting bombarded by advertisements, so they will remember it, and bring up as they go past of on these places. Not only that, but one could argue that these companies are installing their brand into people’s mind as soon as possible.

Sure, fast food advertisement can get stuck in people head, but really, it’s taste that draws people into buy it. Most fast food places will “genetically” (for lack of a better word) engineer their food to taste better. They will pump it with lots of sugars or salts, which trigger the taste buds more, and make the food taste better than bland healthy food. Like at McDonald’s they cook their fries in beef flavoring and then pour tons of salt on them, which makes them extremely addicting. Their food isn’t only good to adults, but many kids are picky when it comes to food, and it can be easier for parents to take their kids to places that are almost designed to taste amazing to kids. Which many parents don’t mind because they’re probably thinking yeah, I came here when I was a kid, what’s the harm? And this is shown in Why Fries Taste Good? by Eric Schlosser, “childhood memories of Happy Meals can translate into frequent adult visits” (Schlosser 23). There’s also less risk when going out then making food at home, because there’s a standard of what to expect from fast food. Regardless of whether or not fast food taste better or worse than homemade food, at the end of fast food is quick comfort food, but comfort food none the less and sometimes, that’s all we want or need. Another reason why people crave fast food is because brains have a sensory specific response, which according to What Happens to Your Brain When You Eat Junk Food, are programed to get tired of what the taste of the food being consumed, however, fast food avoids that without over-stimulating the taste buds. This is how people can eat junk food for hours without getting tired of the taste (Clear).

Sometimes when people tired and they frankly just don’t have enough energy to make that burger, or homemade mac and cheese, it’s just easier to go out and buy it. Going to McDonald’s or Safeway to ultimately get a cheaper and less energy taxing alternative, is much easier for many American families. To put it into perspective, McDonald’s has a deal right now where people can buy one McDouble, get the other one for a dollar. Meaning they are getting two burgers for a little over $3, rather than slaving over a hot stove (when all they want to do is curl up on the couch) and to make one’s own hamburger cost a lot more $3. Not to mention, it also requires more energy and time, and sometimes waiting that 10-20 minutes is just too long. Another thing that helps with the convenience of fast food is, people don’t have to get out of their car, and there’s little social interaction that has to be done. With going the through the drive-through, people just have to order their food, and hand money to the person on the other side of the window, and then leave. Also, by going through the drive-through people don’t have to have to leave their nice warm car (in the winter), or cool car (in the summer). Not only do they not have to leave their car, they also don’t have to worry about what they wear, because 1. It’s fast food and 2. They’re not necessarily going out in public so they most likely won’t be judged by the person working the window. And final without having to get out of the car, people who might be have social anxiety or just want to be left alone, don’t have to worry about a server coming over about asking how the food is every 15 minutes. Also, Drive-throughs can add to the convenience of fast restaurants because people who work a lot, or who have busy lives and are under time restraints and can “shift consumer demand from grocery store foods to restaurant meals” (Rahkovsky). For convenience alone, many people, especially in America, will adopt the fast food diet.

Sometimes it boils down to more than just one of the reasons, maybe it’s a combination of two of them, or all three. My mac and cheese example are based on My Chee-to Heart by Jill McCorkle, has to do with both convenience and the taste. In her article, she said that she goes to a friend’s house, where her friend is serving homemade mac and cheese, and McCorkle overheard her daughter say to her friend’s daughter, “but my mom’s macaroni and cheese is bright orange” (McCorkle 32). This comment kind of shook McCorkle in her article, doesn’t mean her mac and cheese and any worse, it’s just different. Also, just because McCorkle gives her daughter box mac and cheese, doesn’t make her a bad mom. Maybe her daughter, like I, just isn’t a fan of homemade mac and cheese and prefers kraft mac and cheese. Or maybe, McCorkle would rather spend time with her daughter than have to spend an hour making it from scratch when she could spend 8-10 minutes making it from the box. Not only is it faster it’s also cheaper and requires a lot less ingredients. Although homemade versions might taste better than the store-bought version, it doesn’t mean there’s the less love put into it.

With the convenience being so convincing, the comfortably being reassuring, and the taste being irresistible after on the long day, millions of people all throughout America live off of a fast food diet. If we’re being honest, fast food isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, if anything, it’ll just continue to expand. All we can hope for is that maybe these companies can make their food healthier, while maintaining that luring taste.

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America's Fast Food Obsession. (2022, Apr 29). Retrieved from

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