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QuestionAre there any political,economic, social, environmental or technological trends that can affect fast food consumption?
AnswerThere are a number of trends that may affect fast food consumption, including: economic, technological, political and cultural trends. Some of the trends that are likely to impact fast food consumption are: 1) Social: Busy family and work life has led to a decline in the number of home family meals over the past decade (Rutgers, 2007), this means that more individuals are eating on the move. Research has revealed that individuals between the ages of 16 and 24 spend more on food compared to any other age group because they lack cooking skills (Dugan, 2015). These two trends are likely to increase the level of fast food consumption. Obesity has become a public health concern in many countries (Mandal,2014); the UK has the highest level of obesity in Western Europe (NHS,2015). This increase in obesity is due to the modern lifestyle, including the reliance on cars, computers as well as high-calorie foods (NHS,2015). Society in general is becoming aware of the dangers of consuming fast food, which may reduce fast food consumption in the future. 2) Economic – Fast food services are perceived by customers to be convenient and value for money (Lutz, 2013), for these reasons individuals are choosing to buy cheap high calorie food rather than healthy alternatives. The financial crisis of 2008/09 has led to a decline in household disposable income (ONS, 2011), causing families to look for cheaper and often poorer quality food (e.g. fast foods) (JRF,2011). 3) Technology: Companies, such as McDonald’s, have invested in technology to improve order processing and introduced self-service kiosks, making it more convenient for customers to purchase (Waddell, 2015). The Internet and online companies such as “Just Eat” have also provided individuals with easy access to order fast food from home. These two factors are likely to increase fast food consumption.
ReferencesDugan, E (2015) 16 to 24-year-olds spend more on food than any other age group, says research. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/16-to-24-year-olds-spend-more-on-food-than-any-other-age-group-says-research-a6678596.html [accessed on 15th July 2016) JRF (2011). The impact of the global economic downturn on communities and poverty in the UK. https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/impact-global-economic-downturn-communities-and-poverty-uk [accessed on 15th July 2016) Lutz, A (2013). 19 Fast Food Hacks That Will Change The Way You Order. http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-hack-fast-food-menus-2013-7?IR=T [accessed on 15th July 2016) Mandal, A. (2014) Obesity and Fast Food. http://www.news-medical.net/health/Obesity-and-Fast-Food.aspx [accessed on 15th July 2016) NHS (2015) Britain: 'the fat man of Europe'. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/loseweight/Pages/statistics-and-causes-of-the-obesity-epidemic-in-the-UK.aspx [accessed on 15th July 2016) ONS (2011) The Impact of the Recession on Household Income, Expenditure and Saving, Q2 2011. http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160105160709/http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171766_240249.pdf [accessed on 15th July 2016) Rutgers (2007) Busy Lifestyles versus Health and Wellness. https://njaes.rutgers.edu/sshw/message/message.asp?p=Health&m=79 [accessed on 15th July 2016) Waddell (2015) McDonald’s kiosk hints at how tech will change fast food forever. http://www.cantechletter.com/2015/10/mcdonalds-kiosks-hint-at-how-tech-will-change-fast-food-forever/ [accessed on 15th July 2016)
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