Fast food is one of the world's fastest growing food types and it is continuously expanding. But some of the most rapid growth is occurring in the developing world, where it's radically changing the way people eat.
People buy fast food because it's cheap, quick, and heavily promoted. But its benefits can be deceptive. Meals devoured in the car or at our desks are replacing homecooked fare enjoyed with family and friends. Around the world, traditional diets and recipes are yielding to sodas, burgers, and other highly processed and standardized items that are high in fat, sugar, and salt—fuelling a global epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses.
Those in less of a hurry are finding alternatives. Fresh organic foods are increasingly popular in Europe, Japan, and the United States. And a “slow food” movement to promote appreciation of food and the cultural experience of shared meals is becoming widespread worldwide.
Modern commercial fast food is often highly processed and prepared in an industrial fashion, i.e. on a large scale with standard ingredients and standardised cooking and production methods. It is usually prepared and served very rapidly in cartons or bags or in a plastic wrapping, in a fashion which minimizes costs. Menu items are generally made from processed ingredients prepared at a central supply facility and then shipped to individual outlets where they are reheated or cooked (usually by microwave or deep-frying) in a short amount of time. This process ensures not only a consistent level of product quality but also a quick delivery for the customer to either take out or take away
Fast-food outlets are take-away or take-out providers, often with a “drive-through” service which allows customers to order and pick up food from their cars; but most outlets also have a seating area in which customers can eat the food in the premises. Moreover, many gas stations have stores which sell...