Have you seen the latest press releases from a new study by the Centers for Disease Control? According to the study, 34 of 100 Americans eat fast food every day; said another way, more than 1 in 3 meals is a fast food meal.
Of course, that doesn't count junk food meals or heat-n-eat premade, pre-processed meals. This study is just someone pulling into a fast food joint and ordering a meal. Men patronize fast food a little more than women. Wealthy patronize more than poor; obviously, the wealthy have more important things to do with their time than cook.
The most important finding, in my estimation, is that people under 40 eat fast food more than twice as much as those over 60. It doesn't say if that means people over 60 eat out just as much, but it's not fast food. I suspect that people over 60 tend to eat more at home, like DOMESTIC CULINARY ARTS!
What's the takeaway from this study? First, was it necessary? Did the government really have to take my money to study how many people eat fast food? Of course not. Interesting, yes, but critical to our country's well-being and worth taking people's hard-earned money to learn? No. So first, it's a shameful waste of money and illustrates how little regard bureaucrats and politicians have for the value of a dime someone actually earns with the sweat of their brow.
Second, it means if you want to stay viable in the food business, you'd better figure out how to either enter fast food yourself, or failing that, to get people to exit fast food. I reiterate my belief: the truest sign that someone "gets it" is if they eat leftovers, and that means taking leftovers for lunch.
Third, it shows that for all the yakking about nutrition and better food and health, most folks either don't want to hear it or disbelieve it. Those of us trying to chart a different path have plenty of work to do. Either that, or people who say they care, really don't.
Fourth, the trend line is ominous. Wouldn't you think the millenials who are supposedly into health and wellness would move the fast food trend down? But no, it's actually trending up since far more young people eat fast food than older folks. That means not only do we have a lot of work to do, we're actually still losing.
A shot of reality for those of us evangelists for local integrity food is good once in awhile. Even though Omnivore's Dilemma sold more than 1 million copies, it put barely a dent in the national foodscape. And how many readers of that wonderful tome took their grandbabies to McDonald's last week? Hmm?
What would be your percentage of fast food meals?