(Fast) food: Healthy? Unhealthy? Sustainable? Unsustainable?
McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, who doesn’t love those these fast-food chains?! Known all over the world, extremely unhealthy but extremely hard to resist! What exactly does the consumer want? Healthy, unhealthy, sustainable, unsustainable? Does the consumer sincerely cares about all of this or do they pretend they care?
Me, myself and I
Nowadays people want to feel more special, this is called individualizing, (Oxforddictionaries, definition individualize). Individualizing is the process whereby each individual is the centre of his own thoughts, coming and going. It is becoming more important to lead your own, exiting, life. To reach something and to develop your personal goals, (WordPress, overdenken – Filosofie).
A good example of this mega trend is social media. There are many social media channels where you can make your own, personal account and share your personal information with the rest of the world. But also to announce events, for example an opening of a new (fast)food chain. There is a lot of speculation on social media.
A very popular topic on social media nowadays is the “fit girl and boy” and the “anti fit girl and boy”. What is true, what is fake, what is healthy and what is unhealthy? There are so many different facts, views and opinions on health on Social Media, people don’t know what to believe anymore.
Conscious fastfood concept Leon opens in the Netherlands
“Leon” made a profit for the first time in 2014 and opened in 2015 twelve new restaurants in England and wants to grow further in England ànd Europe. The dream of this healthy concept is to open even restaurants in America.
“John Vincent, co-owner of Leon said earlier: I aim to create a world where Leon appreciated more than McDonalds”
Leon is especially appreciated because of its healthy food range, such as dishes with sweet potato. The chain only uses products from selected farmers. The leon-range consists of lunch and snacks for the evening, such as wraps, dips, salads and grilled chicken to go.
Leon has already received various awards, most recently as ‘Best New Restaurant’. The chain recently published their own cookbook ‘Leon quick vegetarian’, (Foodclicks, verantwoord fast foodconcept Leon komt naar Nederland).
But the healthy fastfood concept is not on a small scale only. An island on Torba, part of Vanuatu, may only be traded local and organic food.
No longer rice, noodles and other ‘western’ food!
The island council decided to abolish unhealthy food as rice, noodles and other ‘Western’ food. On this island group there is a lot of farmland where products as pineapple and sweet potato is grown. And besides that, there are many fish caught every day and the local leader finds that there are no positive nutrients in food such as rice and noodles.
There is so many good and healthy food on the island, that they find it unnecessary to import food from the West.
“The ideal island for fit- boys & girls, a healthy island!”
The paradise island aims for a healthy population. From February 2017 hotels may only serve local and organic food. Within 2 years the island only wants products from the island itself consumed, they want to be the first completely biological island. (We fly cheap, foodlovers opgelet | Paradijselijk eiland schaft ongezond eten af!)
Craft and healthy? (or maybe not)
Although it seems that we want to eat craft and healthy (Voeding nu, Nederlanders willen gezonder eten). Uben Zuiderveld, a Dutch foodservicewatcher, researched the market share from the 5 biggest fast-food chains at the moment in the Netherlands. The sales volume was a billion in 2015, this has doubled compared to to ten years ago. So although a lot of Dutch people says that they want to eat healthier, they still don’t … (Nu, driekwart van Nederlanders eet ongezond).
There are many counter-reactions on all the unhealthy food changes. Besides the counter-reactions named above, one of those counter-reaction is the ‘Slow Food’. Slow Food is a worldwide movement which consists of people who stand for good, clean, fair food and is known worldwide (Slowfood, good clear & clean).
As I mentioned before, the co-owner of the healthy fastfood concept Leon said ‘I aim to create a world where Leon appreciated more than Mcdonalds’. But McDonalds is also working really hard to be more appreciated by its customers. For example by publishing how to hack the standard menu of the fast food chain and secret menu items.
McDonald’s employees publish how to hack the standard menu and secret menu items
McDonalds, a classic spot for burgers, nuggets, fries and ice cream.
But just when you thought that you knew its menu inside out, employees announced the existence of a secret menu and the use of this menu. A former employee warns that secret menu items are unofficial, meaning that employees are not trained in making them or even in charging for them.
A few examples from secret menu items and customizing classics are:
- Grilled cheese sandwich // the beef patties on the grill or the whole sandwich through the toaster.
- Mc Gang Bang // McDouble and a McChicken on one sandwich.
- Land, Air and Sea // A quarter-pounder with a fillet of fish and a crispy chicken.
But, except from the secret menu items and customizing classics you can also keep it simple by just asking the employees to grill the onions instead of getting them raw, adding a fried egg to any sandwich or order Mac Sauce on any burger you like. For chicken and fries it also works but is more time-efficient.
“For a fresh burger, order your beef patties with no salt, it takes less than a minute”
Save money on Big Macs by ordering the Ghettto Mac; Order a McDouble and ask the employee to replace lettuce and Mac sauce for ketchup and mustard. Most of de McDonalds have started to charge for these replacements. It tastes close enough to a Big Mac for almost 1/3 the price, (This is insider, McDonald’s employees reveal ordering hacks and secret menu items).
But just when you thought its only McDonalds who’s trying to distinguish themself as fastfood chain you are wrong. Because this year, 2017, there never came so many fastfood restaurants to the Netherlands.
There never came so many fastfood restaurants to the Netherlands
Five American fast food concepts will open in the Netherlands this year.
“2017 can be the year of the snack”
American chains in the Netherlands:
- 1971 McDonald’s
- 1972 KFC
- 1973 Pizza Hut
- 1981 Burger King
- 1997 Dunkin’ Donuts
- 1997 TGI Friday’s
- 2000 Subway
- 2009 Starbucks
- 2016 Papa John’s
- 2017 Dunkin’ Donuts (returns)
- 2017 TGI Friday’s (returns
- 2017 Five Guys
- 2017 Taco Bell
- 2017 Pizza Hut (returns)
Overall, a lot is changing in the (fast) food industry. Even the chains themselves don’t know how to deal with the fast growing needs of the changing consumer.
Another option between the never ending discussion of healthy and unhealthy food is eating trough virtual reality. Eat whatever you want, whenever you want without the calories. Maybe eating trough virtual reality is the future of (fast)food?!
Pepa, sensory vs headset
“The virtual reality system that lets you eat without a single calorie passing your lips”
Project Nourished, according to the website (http://www.projectnourished.com) has been exploring ways that lets those concerned about calorie intake without limitation. It allows you to experience dining in a whole new way without caloric intake; while keeping taste, smell and touch.
The dining set includes a virtual reality headset, aromatic diffuser, bone conduction transducer, gyroscope utensil, virtual cocktail glasses and 3D printed food.
Aromatic diffuser forges the smell of various foods and bone conduction transducer mimics sensations of chomping.
“What if you can eat anything you want without regret? Enjoy pleasures of food without calories”
So, not only individualizing but also the new technology are playing a huge role in this changing industry.