Affect of Fast Food
Primary Factors that Affect Choice of Fast Food PRIMARY FACTORS THAT AFFECT CHOICE OF FAST FOOD AMONG INDIVIDUALS OF DIFFERENT COUNTRIES AND DIFFERENTIATIONS IN HEALTH PERSPECTIVES RELATED TO CONSUMPTION OF FAST FOOD ABSTRACT The objective of this research is to identify the impact that culture has on the consumption of fast food and to compare the difference in buying behavior in different countries.
Finally, this work will investigate the major factors that affect customer’s choice in fast food and to understand the relationship between food consumptions and health.This study has made a qualitative examination of fast food consumption among individuals of various nationalities and ethnicities in various countries specifically as related to consumption of fast food through an extensive review of literature in a study reported in interpretive and descriptive findings.
Literature reviewed in this study is of an academic and peer-reviewed nature and published in journals, books, and professional literature and is of a recent nature.Globalization is greatly changing society and culture all around the globe in terms of consumer choices, lifestyle, individual preferences, socialization and custom and at the same time all of these factors are individualizing and changing specific aspects of marketing for fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and others.
In short, understanding factors affecting consumer choices regarding fast food is a complex focus of research because many diverse and various factors must be taken into consideration in terms of fast food and indeed the non-foodness’ (Kwan, 1999) this study has found that non-food related factors affecting consumer choice of fast food establishments on a local and international basis include factors such as: (1) individual choice; (2) religious; (3) group preferences; (4) health-related factors; (5) location and availability of restaurant choices; (6) costs; (7) socialization; (8) time available for eating; (9) with whom they are eating the food; (10) whether the individual is a student in a college or university within the proximity of a fast food restaurant.
The objective of this research is to identify the impact that culture has on the consumption of fast food and to compare the difference in buying behavior in different countries. Finally, this work will investigate the major factors that affect customer’s choice in fast food and to understand the relationship between food consumptions and health. INTRODUCTION This study focuses on the factors that affect the choice of fast food by individuals in various countries throughout the world and specifically as related to buying behavior as related to consumptions of fast food and health perceptions among these individuals and different cultures. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Many studies have cited health-related affects from fast food consumption therefore this study has sought to investigate the factors that affect the choice of fast food among different individuals in various countries throughout the world and the related health perceptions of these individuals as related to consumption of fast food. METHODOLOGY This study has made a qualitative examination of fast food consumption among individuals of various nationalities and ethnicities in various countries specifically as related to consumption of fast food through an extensive review of literature in a study reported in interpretive and descriptive findings. Literature reviewed in this study is of an academic and peer-reviewed nature and published in journals, books, and professional literature and is of a recent nature. INTRODUCTION
Globalization is greatly changing society and culture all around the globe in terms of consumer choices, lifestyle, individual preferences, socialization and custom and at the same time all of these factors are individualizing and changing specific aspects of marketing for fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and others. In short, understanding factors affecting consumer choices regarding fast food is a complex focus of research because many diverse and various factors must be taken into consideration in terms of fast food and indeed the non-foodness’ (Kwan, 1999) of fast food must be examined. ‘Non-foodness’ is a term coined in the work of Kwan (1999) which is a term used to refer to other reasons that fast food is chosen for consumption among consumers internationally. These factors will be specifically focused on in this study. RESEARCH QUESTIONS ) What different views are held among different cultures in countries throughout the world relating to consumption of fast food? 2) What are the health perspective differentials existing among individuals in various countries throughout the world related to fast food consumption? 3) What are the primary factors that affect the consumption of fast food by college-age students from various countries of the world? 4) Is consumption of fast food an addition to- or an extension of- cultural issues surrounding food consumption? 5) What non-food related factors affect consumer choice of fast food establishments internationally and locally? LITERATURE REVIEW
The work of Jiang (2006) entitled: “American Fast Food in Chinese Culture” states that the research reported is of a study that examined the affects of American fast food culture on Chinese eating habits and the perceptions that the Chinese population have on their general health statuses and the effects of American fast food on Chinese health. Factors listed in this study for consumption of fast food included: (1) Convenience; (2) Speed; (3) Clean and quiet environment; (4) Children being the reason for visiting fast food establishments. Included in reasons for visiting fast food establishments by the Chinese individuals interviewed by Jiang were the reasons stated as: (1) Cleanliness; and 2) Preference for the food. In the country of China Jiang (2006) states that places: “…such as McDonald’s and KFC represent the attainment of the desired urban Chinese life. They are places where small companies started by recent college graduates hold office meetings. They are popular dating spots among the young adults and quiet places to get away from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan life for the increasing population of white collar workers. The well lit, standardized and clean restaurants represent the antithesis of the traditional Chinese restaurant in which franchises are rare, busy meal time are always loud, and the older generations tend to prefer. (Jiang, 2006) Jiang relates that these fast food restaurants in China place an emphasis on the culture and social status which is reflected in “…the business strategies of the fast food companies in targeting the younger generation with weight loss salads, quiet environments and trendy music. ” (2006) The younger generation in China have different values than do their parents “…the standards for social status have changed as well. Changing standards which American fast food among other companies have been catering to include the creation of “…non-smoking, clean, professional franchises that make the younger generation feel comfortable and upscale.
At McDonald’s for example, they are treated in the same manner as a successful businessman thirty years their senior. At Starbucks, the standardized menu allows them to have their favorite drink made the same way no matter which franchise they visit. At KFC, one can sit down to study without being bombarded by loud yells from smoking middle-aged men talking business over beer. Whereas previous generations favored personal attention, the new generation now favors personal comfort. In order to be successful, consequently, new businesses have to target the intra-generational cultures. ” (Jiang, 2006) The work of Wai Yin Kwan entitled: “American Fast Food in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China” (1999) relates some very interesting facts.
Kwan (1999) conducted a survey among Texas students from Hong Kong, Taiwan and China. Findings of the survey include the following stated reasons why these individuals choose fast food: (1) Because it is “something new and different” – Kwan relates that “since hamburgers, pizzas, and french fries are not items found in the traditional Chinese diet, many first time customers went to the fast food places just to find out what the food and the entire fast food experience were like. ” (1999) (2) American – Kwan relates that for some of these individuals the aspect of the individuals in this study because it provided them with a “change to participate in and associate themselves with the American culture. (1999) Kwan’s study revealed that because “people have differing conceptions of what America is, the exact aspects of American culture that the consumers found appealing also differ. For the younger generation the American fast food/tee-shirt and jeans culture represents a lack of formal rules, casualness, and youth. For young adults who are involved or wish to be involved in the business world, American fast food represents the modern, global culture. ” (1999) (3) Something special – Kwan relates that in the advent of the fast food chains “…their prices were relatively high compared to lower end, traditional eating establishments. The high prices prevented most people from going there on a regular basis, and therefore fast food was seen a special treat. (1999) (4) Tourist destination – Kwan relates findings that since fast food places are generally concentrated in the large urban areas “…and have not yet reached rural towns, many rural tourists who visit large urban cities in China make a special trip to fast food places. Many tourists have their picture taken in front of the McDonald’s sign or with the Ronald McDonald statue outside the restaurant to document their contact with an exotic culture. “ (1999) (5) Location, location, location – Over a period-of-time, Kwan’s study notes that “…as the number of fast food outlets increased, the reasons why people go to fast food places changed. All the interviewees who have become accustomed to the presence of the fast food chains now cite the numerous locations as a major reason for going to fast food outlets.
Some of the students said while they would never make a special trip to go to a fast food place, they sometimes ate fast food because they happened to walk by a fast food place when they were hungry. ” (1999) Additionally, other than the number of fast food outlets, the locations were noted to play an integral role in the popularity of fast food among the students from Hong Kong, Taiwan and China as many of these outlets are located nearby schools and college campuses and students were stated to be prone to gather in these outlets in the late afternoon and early evening following classes. (6) The Toys! – McDonald’s was found to be popular among youth from Hong Kong, Taiwan and China because of the toys provided with the Happy Meal. Kwan states: “Recently the Happy Meal toys also attracted the attention of the adult market.
The sales of Happy Meals at McDonald’s in Hong Kong jumped 80% in 1998 after the introduction of the Snoopy doll, and jumped 10% in 1999 after the introduction of the Hello Kitty doll This increase in sales was driven by both kids and adults who bought and then resold the dolls at twenty times the original price. ” (1999) (7) Friendly staff – According to Kwan another reason cited for the popularity of fast food was the friendly staff and atmosphere. Findings of the survey relate that quality of service varies at other high-end expensive and traditional restaurants “while the quality of service at traditional places varies greatly depending on the personality of the waiter, the students said that the cashiers at the fast food places are always smiling and polite. ” (1999) (8) Cleanliness – Kwan relates the fact that Taiwanese and Chinese students “…were also impressed by the cleanliness of the fast food places.
One reason for the cleanliness is the fact that unlike traditional restaurants where the customers leave all the dishes on the tables when they leave, the customers at the fast food places throw their own trash away. The students were also impressed by the fact that employees were constantly sweeping the floors and cleaning the windows. ” (1999) The students from Hong Kong however, “…didn’t express the view that the service and cleanliness of American fast food chains are superior to domestic eateries. ” (1999) Kwan reports that in survey questions that focused entirely on fast food at McDonald’s the following findings were stated: (1) Friendly atmosphere – Kwan relates that the tops reasons for choosing McDonalds among the students from Taiwan and China included: (a) clean atmosphere; (b) friendly atmosphere. Secondary was the food itself. 2) Cheap prices – Kwan relates that unlike China and Taiwan “…where the prices at McDonald’s were higher than traditional food eateries, the prices at McDonald’s in Hong Kong are cheaper than most other eateries. The low prices were very attractive to the young students who had a limited supply of money. ” (1999) Kwan relates that among the students he surveyed that “none of the students I interviewed expressed a strong negative view of the American fast food chains. Also stated in the findings of the study conducted by Kwan (1999) is: “While there is a bias against American fast food, especially among the older generation, the bias isn’t for reasons that American critics normally cite.
Many of the students said that their parents never even wanted to try American fast food because of the fact that they didn’t consider it real food. In their opinion a real meal consists of rice or noodles, some meat and vegetables, not “two slices of bread, a small piece of meat and some ketchup. ”(Kwan, 1999) The students from Taiwan, China and Hong Kong, held the view that the more choices available to them all the better and as well nearly all of the students held the belief that “…of the students also shared the common belief that the introduction of American fast food companies was not a threat to their culture, because they believe that the Chinese people are too proud of their food culture to ever let fast food replace traditional food. ” (Kwan, 1999)
This study reports that among those students who enjoyed eating fast food it was viewed as “…more as alternative to their daily diet, rather than being the main part of their diet. ” (1999) Kwan relates that there was no expressed concern among Hong Kong and Taiwanese students “over the widespread presence of fast food back home, some of the students from China were bothered by the rapidly increasing presence of fast food in China. One student said while she readily accepts the presence of McDonald’s in the urban cities, she is less supportive of the idea of McDonald’s spreading into the rural areas. ” (Kwan, 1999) Kwan humorously states: “Relax people, it’s just capitalism! (1999) It is reported that the students surveyed held a belief that the fast food corporations are just “corporate behavior as a natural part of doing business…” (1999) The students surveyed by Kwan did not have a negative image of American fast food companies and some even held the belief that local food culture has been improved by the introduction of the fast food restaurants. The reason stated for this is: “Previous to the introduction of fast food, not much attention was paid to the service and cleanliness of inexpensive, small scale eateries; good service and a clean environment were high priorities only in expensive, high scale restaurants.
The students, who are old enough to compare the conditions of local eateries before and after the introduction of fast food, said that some local restaurants are trying to improve their service and cleanliness in response to the competition from the American fast food industry. ” (1999) The study conducted by Kwan also reveals the situation that occurred in Hong Kong: “In 1974 the founders of Cafe Coral changed the eatery from a traditional style restaurant, to a self-service system that combined Chinese style food with Western style concepts of mass production, quality, service, cleanliness, and value. By 1999 Cafe de Coral had 112 fast food outlets in Hong Kong, second only to McDonald’s 147 outlets.
These domestic fast food companies have taken what they have learned from Western fast food companies and created viable alternative for local consumers who want both the service, cleanliness, and low prices associated with Western fast food and the taste of traditional Chinese food. ” (Kwan, 1999) Kwan relates that the rapid spread of American fast food in China “…China should not simply be seen as one-way process of foreign business imposing their product on local consumers. Consumers have as much affect on the way the product is perceived and used, as the corporations that market the product. ” (1999) Adjustments have been noted in the menu offerings by the fast food restaurants in order to adapt to the tastes of the locality which includes offering of the Teriyaki burger by McDonald’s and the offerings of a seafood Pizza by Pizza Hut topped with shrimp and squid.
Students in numbers have made note of the fact that the Spicy Chicken Wings at Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) were greatly liked and Kwan states this is due to the fact that “Chinese people generally consider the wings, not the breast or the thigh, as the juiciest and best part of the chicken. ” (1999) Another aspect of the attraction of fast food to consumers that differentiates American and Hong Kong customers is the time spent at a fast food establishment. American consumers are stated to spend, on the average, 11 minutes while the Hong Kong consumers reporting spending, on-the-average, 20-25 minutes at the fast food establishment. Kwan relates: “One student I interviewed said she and her friends would often go to McDonald’s for a “quick” thirty minute meal before going somewhere else such as the movies. While for Americans the idea of spending thirty minutes eating fast ood seems to contradict the purpose of going to a “fast” food place, to Chinese consumers this behavior is quite normal. ” (1999) Also stated among the findings of the study of Kwan is that the fast food establishment is a “place to hang out…a social gathering place for people, especially youths and college-age people. ” (1999) The location of these establishments centrally located to schools, universities, and colleges and allowed those who frequented these fast food restaurants to hang out as long as they like, although the study reveals that other waiting customers did often apply pressure and hurry those with tables to eat and surrender the table and with other customers soon to follow to pressure those just having gained the table to give it up to them.
Kwan specifically relates that one of the primary reasons for fast food restaurants becoming a chosen hangout is because “…there are no other food establishments that students and their friends could hang out. The owners of small, family-owned Chinese restaurants expect the customers to finish eating in a reasonable amount of time so that new customers can be seated. The fancier restaurants, that are more accommodating to people who stay for longer periods, are too expensive for most youths. “ (1999) The social aspect of fast food restaurants reflects that status of eating in socialization among these students. Kwan relates findings that eating, among the students surveyed “was considered a social activity to be shared with others.
All of the students said that they would usually or almost always go out to the fast food places with someone else. Some students even said that they would never go out to eat alone. For some students the primary purpose of going to the fast food places was to hang out, not to eat. A few of the students said that they went to the fast food places, even though they didn’t like the food, because their friends wanted to go. They would order a drink and maybe something small like fries or a dessert, and spend quite a while there just hanging out and talking with their friends. ” (1999) Kwan notes the ‘Non-foodness of fast food” in that it has been assimilated into accepted local culture…” although this is certainly on a global scale, et this type of food is not viewed the same as traditional Chinese food in the Chinese culture. Chinese food is not only traditional in its content but in its cultural form as well the vast array of available dishes when eating in a Chinese restaurant is accompanied by a great and lengthy discussion as to the ‘quality’ of the food “…and urging others to eat more. ” (Kwan, 1999) Furthermore, it is revealed in this study that Chinese fast food consumption is through “a simple routine of picking which number value meal they want. ” (Kwan, 1999) One of the primary findings in this study is that “many people don’t expect to get full from fast food.
Kwan states that students related: “…they would feel ripped off if they went to a traditional place and didn’t get full, the fact that they didn’t get full from McDonald’s never bothered them. A few of the students even commented on the fact that two or three hours after eating fast food, they would get hungry again. If they had eaten a real meal, meaning rice, meat, and vegetables, then they would be full for the rest of the night. ” (1999) Kwan’s study notes that the reactions of the overseas students to fast food in America includes the findings that to these students interviewed from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong: “Chinese made American fast-food tastes better” accredited to the spices in China which are put in the burgers make them taste better than in America.
Chinese students state that pizza is even better in China and stated in the survey: “Many of the overseas students said that they were disappointed the first time they ate pizza here in America because they were used to eating pizzas with five or six toppings back home. They thought it was a rip off that the pizzas in the U. S. usually only come with one topping. ” (Kwan, 1999) Among the students interviewed Kwan states findings that “the ubiquitous nature of fast food is also another reason for their decreased interest in fast food. Since the allure of eating something “different”, something “American” is gone, the only reason left to go to the fast food places is the food itself. For most of the students I interviewed, the food just isn’t enough of a reason to go to the fast food places. ” (1999)
Kwan concludes the study by stating: “The reasons consumers in China, McDonald’s and Hong Kong go to fast food places is much more complex than the fact that “Chinese consumers are obsessed with all things American. ” Their reasons for going to fast food places range from characteristics shared by consumers throughout the world, such as convenience, location and hunger, to reasons that based on specific cultural values, such as the view that eating is a social activity. Ironically the food itself only plays minor role in the popularity of fast food. The emphasis on going to a fast food place as a social activity, rather than a eating activity, offers a definition of the term “fast food” that is vastly different from the one created by the business executives. ” (1999)
The work entitled: “Fast Food: Faster Way to Ill Health” published in ‘The Hindu’ relates that while country has “the largest epidemic, in any nation, of malnourished people…” as well India “will soon be the largest epidemic of any national, of obese and diabetic people who will be prone to trouble with their kidneys, eyes, nervous systems, or other parts of the body. ” (Balasubramanian, 2008) This is attributed to policies, or actually a lack of policies “of successive governments, central and state…” ((Balasubramanian, 2008) This report relates that fast food or ‘junk food in India’ “does not come any faster than the traditional idli, vada, dosa, samosa, pakoda or chat in our shops and stalls; indeed it comes slower. ” (Balasubramanian, 2008) The report relates a typical scene in India stating: “One report says that over 23 per cent of the children in Delhi are obese.
One hopes that this estimate is not true; if it is, one shudders to think of the numbers in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Chennai, Kolkata, Gurgaon and other nouveau riche cities with their fast pervading mall culture and fast food attractions. Here is a typical scene from one such mall in Hyderabad. It has a 4-movie multiplex theatre, surrounded by 40-odd fast food kiosks and 20-odd shops that sell clothing, perfumes and jewelry, music and video CDs and DVDs and the like. Not one of them sells traditional Indian meals or snacks. And the mall, like 20 others in the city, is filled with thousands of youngsters who obviously have enough to spend. We did not have such scenes in India twenty years ago, but this mall and fast food culture is expanding explosively across India. This too is part of the globalization of India, a part that auses great concern about the health of its citizens. ” (Balasubramanian, 2008) Balasubramanian reports a research conducted by the research firm ‘Synovate’ recently among thirteen countries on “food habits and health, particularly fast food culture and obesity. ” (2008) Findings in the study reported by Balasubramanian (2008) state the “…the number one fast food nation in the world is the United Kingdom. About 45 per cent of the people there are fast food eaters, and say “I like the taste of fast food too much to give it up. ” (Balasubramanian, 2008) Following a close second are Americans at 44% and Canadians in very close behind in third place consumption of fast food and 37%.
Very different findings are stated for the French who reject fast food at a rate of 81% and Singaporeans who reject fast food at a rate of 71%. Balasubramanian notes that while “…these two countries too are globalized, developed nations, and yet their people reject fast food. ” (Balasubramanian, 2008) Balasubramanian states that a paradox exists among the French in that there are so very few incidences of metabolic type disorders and diseases. This could well be the fact that only 30% of those in France are overweight while “less than 24 percent in Singapore…” are overweight. Those overweight in China are at approximately 18% and 15% of individuals were obese in India until 1980 when that rate climbed rapidly to 27%.
Balasubramanian makes a comparison of fast food and traditional food in India and states: “A hamburger with toppings yields 300 calories (cal) and 10 grams (g) total fat. A slice of pepperoni pizza has 180 cal and 7 g fat. A 12-oz (340 ml) can of Coca Cola yields 155 cal, and a small portion of McDonald’s French fries has 210 cal, and as much as 15g total fat (and the bad ones, the trans fats, form 4g of this amount). More often than not, these are eaten as snacks and not as meals, and thus add to the calorie and fat content- contributing to obesity and associated ill health. ” (2008) Balasubramanian states that in comparison to Indian snacks nd ‘tiffin’ that these “…one midsize idli offers 70 cal and 0. grams fat, a sada dosa 140 cal and 5 grams fat (hence a set dosa or steamed dosa is better), and a samosa packs 370 cal and 18 grams fat (matching a pizza slice or a plate of fries). A glass of lassi (200 g) gives you 140 cal and 2 grams fat (only if it is not ‘malai dal ke’). In the list of fattening dishes of India, korma and biryani stand on top, while ‘tikka’ items cooked in dry oven are low fat. This comparison is not to say: “avoid burger and fries, and eat only idli vada,” but to request to use moderation and caution. ” (Balasubramanian, 2008) In another report from the University of Austin Texas entitled: “Research Examines the Incorporation of Fast Food Culture” it is related that although McDonald’s the work of Dr. John Traphagan and Dr. L.
Keith Brown which is published in the Journal of Ethnology (2002) which relates that fast food is among many and “…often is disparaged as imposing American culture upon unsuspecting global consumers, a new study shows that in Japan fast food restaurants may have positive cultural effects. ” (2002) This study “…highlights examples of how McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken and other Westernized fast food restaurants provide an opportunity for Japanese families to interact with a sense of intimacy and conviviality that is not seen in more traditional Japanese fast food establishments. ” (Traphagan, 2002) T Traphagan states in the findings of the study: “We became interested in fast food in Japan as a result of casual observations of people in restaurants.
It seemed to us that the patterns of eating and interaction were different from what is often reported in the media and in various scholarship in relation to the role of McDonald’s and other fast food venues in modern societies. We also were interested, in this age of globalization, in how the products of multinational corporations such as McDonald’s fit into other, non-American cultures,” he said. “We were interested in how such global, or American, products are perceived in other cultures, how those products are consumed and used in other cultures, how they are adjusted or changed to fit with the local culture and what effect such things have on other cultures. ” (2002)
Through observation of the behavior of those eating in fast food restaurants the researchers were able to note differential eating patterns between Japanese and American consumers including findings of the sharing of food among co-workers, friends, and members of family. Traphagan states: “It is very common for Japanese to have plates of common food in the center of the table, from which they take small portions. Intimacy is sometimes evident by the manner in which people use their chopsticks. If they turn the chopsticks around and take the food from the common plate with the back ends of the chopsticks, this indicates a degree of social distance. One would not do this with family members.
The tendency of having common food in the center of the table holds in restaurants like McDonald’s, where people usually dump all of the french fries onto a common tray in the center of the table and then draw from them as desired. ” (2002) Fast food was also found in the study conducted by Traphagan to be differentiated in Japan from fast food in the United States in that Japanese fast food “…involves a range of options wider than the burgers and fries or fried chicken that typifies the American example, ramen, yakitori and sushi can all be fast food. In some ways, many aspects of Japanese cuisine are fast food in that they can be prepared, kept and eaten quickly — although by no means do Japanese always eat quickly. (2002) It is important to note the findings stated by Traphagan that the Japanese “…view foods like hamburgers and fries as snacks, rather than as a full meal. The lack of rice puts these foods into a somewhat different category from that typical in the U. S. ” (Traphagan, 2002) Traphagan states findings that certain customs of the Japanese were “…sustained in fast food restaurants. One is that a woman in the group — the wife, mother or girlfriend — will go to the counter to place the order and pay, while the rest of the family is seated. In a society where family dinners are rare, the researchers found this time was used by the father to interact with his children, making a trip to McDonald’s an important family outing. ” (Traphagan, 2000)
The work of Douglas Kellner entitled: “Theorizing/Resisting McDonaldization: A Multiperspectivist Approach” (nd) states that no doubt exists that “McDonaldization is spreading as an international phenomenon. ” This work states that in 1996 the Economists made note of the fact that McDonalds reported the intention to open approximately 32,000 new restaurants and that two-thirds of these would be located outside of the United States. It is stated that the analysis conducted by Ritzer while acknowledged McDonalds in terms of its ‘product, architecture, and atmosphere to local conditions…” fails to analyze the “meanings, social functions, and experiences…” that are experienced by customers as McDonald’s “generates a variety of local conditions. ” (nd) It is noted that McDonald’s, just as any global artifact “.. as very different meanings and functions in different regions and parts of the world, and a concrete analysis should interrogate local conditions in which consumers provide their own narratives of their site-specific and particular experiences to capture the variety and diversity of meanings of the McDonald’s effect. ” (nd) Kellner states that he would argue for what I call a multiperspectivist social theory (Best and Kellner 1991 and 1997; Kellner 1995) to engage the phenomenon of McDonaldization and to provide a more contextual and multidimensional paradigm for analyzing the multiplicity of economic, socio-political, and cultural aspects of McDonaldization.
This requires mobilizing the resources of both modern and postmodern theory, using both Marx and Weber, and Baudrillard and postmodern theory, as well as the resources of cultural studies and a critical multiculturalism, to theorize the full-range of the phenomenon of the global hybridization of McDonaldization, its cultural and ideological construction, and its complex effects. McDonaldization is a many-sided phenomenon and the more perspectives that one can bring to its analysis and critique, the better grasp of the phenomenon one will have and the better one will be able to develop alternative readings and generate oppositional practices. ” (nd)
The work of Jack Marr and Alcinda Hatfield entitled: “Fast-Food Restaurants: Just What Eastern China’s Consumers Ordered” states that the growth of fast food restaurants in the country of China has “mushroomed” in both ‘number and diversity’. Specifically stated is that “as recently as 1993, Chinese consumers had few fast-food choices. Restaurant food was limited to five-star hotels, traditional Chinese restaurants and street-side wonton, pulled noodle and tea-egg vendors. ” (2004) The favorite fast food in the country of China is Kentucky Fried Chicken who has combined a popular mid-priced menu, featuring fried chicken, some of which is adapted to local tastes. Its modern atmosphere and marketing target Chinese children. (Marr and Hatfield, 2004) The primary competitor of Kentucky Fried Chicken in China is McDonalds with “sixteen of its current 120 restaurants in China are located in Shanghai. ” (Marr and Hatfield, 2004) The work of Shiva Dindyal and Sanjay Dindyal entitled: “How Personal Factors, Including Culture and Ethnicity, Affect the Choices and Selection of Food We Make” published in the Internet Journal of Third World Medicine relates that the major cities in the world “are made up of diverse societies, consisting of a wide range of individuals from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Ethnicity refers to a social group, which shares certain distinctive features, such as language, culture physical appearance, religion, values and customs.
Culture on the other hand refers to how we do and view things in our group. For example a shared set of values, assumptions, perceptions and conventions based on a shared history and language can make a certain group. In order for a society to function efficiently and smoothly these individuals must learn to integrate and coexist together. This will involve among other things, accepting and sampling different types of foods and even adjusting their diets. ” (Dindyal and Dindyal, 2008) Dindyal and Dindyal relate that consumption of specific foods may be encouraged or discouraged among groups as well as the consumption of specific foods during certain life stages and under certain conditions.
Religion is also stated to play a great role in food choice, selection and consumption in certain societies and cultures. Another personal factor affecting food choice and selection is “patterns of eating, which include for whom the food is being made. ” (2008) Stated as an example is that in traditional eastern cultures “food tend to be prepared for a large number of people at regular times of the day. The opposite is true in western cultures, where food prepared less frequently during the day and often the same mea is eaten more than once during the day. ” (Dindyal and Dindyal, 2008) Another personal factor affecting choice of foods is the individuals’ occupation which is a factor stated to “…directly influence the people’s social class. (Dindyal and Dindyal, 2008) Another factor is the “mood and individual personality” of the individual” as well as “geographical factors such as where people live and the range of shops situated near them…” (Dindyal and Dindyal, 2008) A recent survey conducted among 975 girls and 13 boys relating to fast food reports that when asked “Do you enjoy eating fast food? ” respondents replied as shown in the following chart. Figure 1 Do you enjoy eating fast food? [pic] Source: (Report on would you Like Fries with that? – Latest Survey Results, nd) When asked “How often to you eat fast food? ” respondents in this survey revealed that they eat fast food between one and three times each week while the second largest group replied that they eat fast food between two and three times each month as shown in the following chart. Figure 2
How often do you eat fast food? [pic] Source: (Report on would you Like Fries with that? – Latest Survey Results, nd) When respondents were asked the question of: “If you don’t eat fast food, why? ” respondents were asked to reply by stating: (1) I don’t like it; (2) My family never goes out to eat; (3) There are no fast food restaurants near my house; (4) It is unhealthy; (5) I eat fast food so this question does not apply to me; (6) I am a vegetarian/vegan; (7) It costs too much; or (8) other, the respondents stated as shown in the following chart. Figure 3 If you don’t eat fast food, why? |whynoeat | |dntlike |41 |5. 05 | famnoeat |51 |6. 28 | |noffrest |13 |1. 6 | |unhealth |126 |15. 52 | |eatff |550 |67. 73 | |Vegetarian |17 |2. 09 | |toomuch$ |6 |0. 74 | |other |8 |0. 99 | Source: (Report on would you Like Fries with that? – Latest Survey Results, nd) When respondents in the survey were polled in relation to what their favorite type of fast food was choices provided included burgers, pizza, Chinese food, chicken, tacos, salad, soup, breakfast, hotdogs, chicken, fish and chips, nachos, french fries, subway, pasta, sweets, and none.
The respondents stated preferences for fast food type as shown in the following chart. Figure 4 What is your favorite type of fast food? [pic] Source: (Report on would you Like Fries with that? – Latest Survey Results, nd) When respondents were asked if they had a favorite fast food restaurant among the choices of McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, KFC, Jack in the Box, Arby’s, Jollibee, Subway, Pizza Hut, In and Out, Panda express, Long John Silvers, Tim Hortons, Dairy Queen, Checkers, or some random fast food place the replies stated were those as follows with McDonalds in the lead: Figure 5 Do you have a favorite restaurant? [pic]
Source: (Report on would you Like Fries with that? – Latest Survey Results, nd) When respondents in the survey were polled as to whom they usually went to fast food restaurants with the choices stated as parents/family, brother/sisters, friend, by myself, coach/team, grndrent, don’t eat, boyfriend/girlfriend, coworkers, or other, the replies given by respondents are shown in the following table. Figure 6 Who do you usually go to fast food with? Count Percent |whoeat | | | | parents/fam |526 |54. 73 | |brosis |63 |6. 56 | |friends |272 |28. 3 | bymylf |14 |1. 46 | |coach/team |1 |0. 1 | |grndrent |20 |2. 08 | |donteat |48 |4. 99 | |bf/gf |7 |0. 73 | |coworkers |5 |0. 52 | |other |5 |0. 52 | Source: (Report on would you Like Fries with that? – Latest Survey Results, nd) When respondents were asked “What do you enjoy most about fast food? ” respondents stated the tastes as being the number one enjoyment with the second and third most stated reply being the ‘fast’ and ‘cheap’ nature of the fast food as what is most enjoyed about fast food.
All results are shown in the following chart. Figure 7 What do you enjoy most about fast food? [pic] Source: (Report on would you Like Fries with that? – Latest Survey Results, nd) When respondents were polled concerning what they liked the ‘least’ about fast food, respondents replied as shown in the following chart. Figure 8 What do you like the least about fast food? [pic] Source: (Report on would you Like Fries with that? – Latest Survey Results, nd) When respondents were polled as to their perceptions of fast food in terms of health the respondents gave the following replied stated in percentages concerning their view of fast food was that is it ‘unhealthy’.
Only 104 disagreed with this statement and only 12 strongly disagreed. The overwhelming majority of respondents stated an agreement that fast food is not healthy. Figure 9 Fast Food is Unhealthy [pic] Source: (Report on would you Like Fries with that? – Latest Survey Results, nd) When respondents were asked “If you eat at a fast food restaurant, what is your main reason? ” respondents stated reasons as shown in the following chart with liking the tastes of fast food and because their parents eat fast food as primary reasons for eating at fast food restaurants. Figure 10 If you eat at a fast food restaurant, what is your main reason? [pic] Source: (Report on would you Like Fries with that? Latest Survey Results, nd) Finally, this study asked respondents in this study the question of whether: ‘If you were forced to choose between cooking at home or eating fast food for the rest of your life, which would you choose? ” Respondents overwhelmingly stated that they would choose to cook the rest of their life if forced to make a choice at the rate of approximately 82%. The study of Marsh, Fanning and Stiegert (2003) entitled: “Socioeconomic Determinants of Fast Food Consumption” states that: “Fast food consumption has increased dramatically over the past three decades in U. S. , accounting for nearly 35. 5% of total away-from-home expenditures in 1999. It is interesting to note the findings of this study which states: “Lin, Lucier, Allhouse, and Kantor examined the influence of fast food growth on frozen potato consumption. They report that on any given day that 13% of consumers eat french fries with fast food establishments accounting for 67% of the french fry market. They also report that french fry consumption varies by age, region, urbanization, race, and ethnicity, but independent of income. ” (Marsh, Fanning and Steigert, 2003) Also stated in the findings of this study is: “Important regional and socio-demographic factors emerged. Consumers in the South and Midwest were most likely to consume fast food.
In terms of gender, males were more likely to consume fast food than were females. Individuals were more likely to consume fast food until they reached 20-30 years of age at which point the likelihood that they consume fast food decreases throughout their life. Larger households (especially those with more than four persons) were less likely to consume fast food. Although the impact of income on the likelihood of consuming fast food was statistically significant, it was very inelastic. The likelihood of consuming fast food was much more sensitive to age relative to household size and least sensitive to income. ” (Marsh, Fanning and Steigert, 2003) SUMMARY OF THE LITERATURE REVIEWED
The findings of the present study acknowledge first that fast food consumption is global in nature stretching from India, to China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, to the United States, fast food and fast food restaurants are relevant to a great majority of the world’s consumers. This study has found that fast food restaurants located near schools, colleges, and universities, are frequented regularly by students and that places such as McDonald’s represent more than food consumption because these places are also places of socialization for college students and other young people where these individuals study and ‘hang-out’ with their peers. The largest majority of individuals who eat fast food have been found in this study to e completely aware that fast food is unhealthy however, this study has found that fast food is not considered by most individuals to be ‘real food’ and that fast food such as McDonalds is acknowledge as less nutritional, less healthy and less filling than what is considered to constitute ‘real food’ cooked at home. FINDINGS OF THE STUDY This study has posed the questions of: (1)What different views are held among different cultures in countries throughout the world relating to consumption of fast food? ; (2) What are the health perspective differentials existing among individuals in various countries throughout the world related to fast food consumption? (3) What are the primary factors that affect the consumption of fast food by college-age students from various countries of the world? ; (4) Is consumption of fast food an addition to- or an extension of- cultural issues surrounding food consumption? ; and (5) What non-food related factors affect consumer choice of fast food establishments internationally and locally? This study has found that consumption of fast food is viewed pretty much the same across cultures, race, and ethnicity in various countries as most individuals acknowledge fast food to be generally snack type food and not really to be considered a meal such as ‘real food’ cooked at home.
Fast food, when contrasted to real cooked food would be cast aside if individuals had to make a life-choice of the type of food they preferred to consume. This study has also found that the largest majority of those who eat fast food acknowledge that fast food is unhealthy to consume on a regular basis. The primary factors influencing college-age students in their consumption of fast food are factors of socialization and availability of fast food restaurants near schools, universities and campuses. Fast food consumption has been found by this study to be both in addition to as well as an extension of cultural issues and customs surrounding food consumption.
Finally, this study has found that non-food related factors affecting consumer choice of fast food establishments on a local and international basis include factors such as: (1) individual choice; (2) religious; (3) group preferences; (4) health-related factors; (5) location and availability of restaurant choices; (6) costs; (7) socialization; (8) time available for eating; (9) with whom they are eating the food; (10) whether the individual is a student in a college or university within the proximity of a fast food restaurant. CONCLUSIONS Having reviewed an extensive amount of literature in the subject area of factors affecting consumers in the consumption of fast food this study concludes that the factors that affect fast food consumption among consumers are great in number in all countries in which fast food in consumed. Non-food related factors are just as great in the influence of fast food consumption as are food-related matters such as taste and nutritional value of the food being consumed.
However, traditional restaurant dining is greatly preferred among older consumers and among more discerning younger consumers although this does not greatly impact younger consumers in terms of reducing their consumption of fast food or increasing their consumption of more traditional restaurant dining food items. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH Future research will likely undertake studies of a longitudinal nature relating to factors affecting food consumption differences among different nationalities and ethnicities and as well will focus specifically on tracking the consumer patterns of individuals that follow those individuals over many years and life health-related transitions in gaining a complete understanding of the primary health-related factors that affect fast food consumption patterns among individuals of different nationalities and ethnicities.