Is This The End of America’s Love Affair With Fast Food?

08/28/2014

Americans are notorious for their love of food. They are notorious for their love of fast food and the fallout from having such a love. Since the first McDonald’s opened decades ago, Americans, and people around the world, have had an obsession with the fast food fare that the chain offers. For many people having a burger, fries, and a soda is as basic and natural as breathing. Even when the population of the United States saw the evidence that a diet filled with fast food was detrimental to their overall health, they continued to flock to the fast food chain and other restaurant chains that started to crop up.

A Change Has Started

Somewhere along the line people started to realize that perhaps it was time to start eating a diet that was healthier for them and their families. Requests were made to start adding healthier food options to the menus of not only McDonald’s but also other fast food chains like Wendy’s, and Burger King to name just a few. During that same period of time, other fast food chains started to crop up. People were turning to fast food chains that served a healthier meal option that was still served in a relatively quick period of time and at a low cost.

One firm is making a bold statement related to the people that frequent fast food chains. According to Janney Capital Markets, “American dietary preferences are shifting towards non-greasy “fast-casual” food items that are high in quality.” They have gone so far as to predict that among the top fast food restaurant chains, only McDonald’s will remain in its top spot by the year 2020. The likes of Burger King and Wendy’s will, “drop out of the top five and be replaced with the likes of Dunkin Brands Group Inc. (DNKN) and Chick-fil-A.”

Showing some truth in these claims by Janney Capital Markets, despite its continued dominance at the top of the fast food industry according to an article by Renee Parker, “McDonald’s has recently been underperforming on both the global and domestic level signaling concerns for its future.” Even CEO Don Thompson admitted in the article, “the restaurant chain “losing its relevance” among the wider customer market across USA.”

Further Evidence

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have done their own research related to fast food consumption and the move away from the unhealthy fare. According to a survey released by the CDC in 2013, “on average, adults consumed about 11.3 percent of their daily calorie intake from fast food in the 2007-2010 period – a drop from 12.8 percent in 2003-2006.” People are taking note of all of the potential health risks, and extra points that a diet filled with too many unhealthy foods can cause.
Though there may be a slowdown of sorts on how often people are going to fast food chains, they are still going. One reason they keep returning over and over again is that these fast food giants are adding healthy food alternatives to their menus. While the staples of burgers, fries, sodas, and milkshakes will always be on the menus, fast food chains, such as McDonald’s have turned to adding salads, wraps, and fruit to the menus to draw in those individuals looking for a healthier alternative.

Change in Food Trends

Another indicator that people are turning away from the typical fast food meals that are offered at the likes of McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s is that foodies are looking for alternative food options. Though people love a good burger and fries, people are looking for meal options that are not only healthier, but also different in general. They are turning to restaurants such as Taco Bell, Chipotle, and Chick-fil-A for a change in what they eat.

There are always going to be people that are looking for a quick meal that is at a reasonable price. They are going to look to fast food chains for those meals, which means fast food giants like McDonald’s are always going to have a consumer base in which to sell their fast food fare. The question remains, will McDonald’s and other fast food chains start to alter their menus to cater to a more health conscience market or will they stick with the old standbys that most people find themselves craving every once in a while, the hamburger with fries.

Only time will tell, but as long as there is a demand, there is going to be a supply offered by a variety of fast food chains. McDonald’s, in particular, has no plans of leaving the market and all of the customers that have come to love their meals.

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