FAST FOOD - Friend or Foe?

Fast Food is defined as the food which is made and presented to the customers quickly usually with pre-cooked ingredients prepared in huge amount and sold in packaging. Fast Food industry has grown enormously and is the most remarkable story in the past 90 years.


The concept of Fast Food has been around since 1900s when it was served through Automats. Automats are like vending machines, just drop the coin, and in return obtain hot food quickly making it possible to get anything you want to drink before lunch to anything you want to have for the lunch.

Throughout the great depression and World War 2, people still had the tendency to cook meals at home even though there was a fast food restaurant built in 1921, The White Castle in Wichita Kansas. White castle was a burger point that established a faster and cleaner system for making burgers.

The Fast Food industry actually took off after the war when people started to consider eating out as a source of entertainment, especially if the food was served quickly and tasty. As a result, Richard and Maurice McDonald started a speedy service system to offer tasty burgers quickly.

Over the next decade, new fast food chains started across the country like In-N-Out in California in 1948, KFC in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1952, Burger King in Florida in 1954, Pizza Hut in Wichita, Kansas in 1958 and many more.

Back in 1950s, lifestyle changed. People started to look for convenience, not to get out of the car and eat inside. So driveways came into the origin.

In 1960s, the industry was boomed due to the invention of a tool which saved a lot of time, Microwave. It reheats the food in just few seconds.

In 1976, Wendy's, which opened just 7 years earlier, opened its 500th restaurant.

By 1978, around 60,000 fast food outlets were scattered in US. As the US market became crowded with new fast food outlets, the older ones started to look beyond US. Soon, fast food outlets boomed in Australia, UK, Japan. Still, it wasn't welcomed by all the countries. After a KFC outlet opened in Bermuda, the government banned any more foreign franchises to protect the purity and economy of the Island.

In the decades to come america's McDonald can be founded in almost every country on the planet. A survey found out that more than 96% of american children know who Ronald McDonald is (the mascot of McDonald).

Subway has the largest number of stores in world with 41,500 locations worldwide.

In 2001, Food industry became unstoppable and Pizza hut delivered space pizza to the International Space Station for over a million dollars.



  • Eating too much of fast food increases the rate of obesity which in turn leads to various health disease like diabetes and cancer. From 1999-2000 through 2017-2018, US obesity prevalence increased from 30.5% to 42.4%. During the same time the prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2%. Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1970s. In the same time frame the number of fast food restaurants increased drastically.
  • As per 2016 data, more than 1.9 billion adults are overweight that's 39% of the population. Over 340 million children are overweight or obese.
  • Children, who are obese, are likely to live shorter life than their parents.
  • In 2018, the FDA made it compulsory for all fast food chains to publish their calorie count.


  • It contributes to Global Warming which is the result of methane emission. The largest producer of this gas is cow herds, America is the biggest beef producer. This subsequently makes dairy farming as the producer of methane (dairy farming means nurturing of cows). 


  • A lot of plastic waste is produced by the consumption of fast food like plastic straws, plastic bottles, plastic wrapper etc. All these are non recyclable elements which harms the land and water bodies. Most of the wastes are dumped in oceans and rivers making them polluted.
  • In India in 2002-03, Local residents protested against coca cola for exploiting the groundwater resources of their area. 

One thing is for sure, fast food isn't going away. And for the economy it is a good thing. Worldwide, fast food is a $570 Billion industry. It is providing employment on a large scale, not only to youngsters but it also provides part time to elderly.