In the recent past, fast food industry has infiltrated into the lives of many American people. The fast food industry has spread all through the US following the customers to wherever they are. Fast foods are now served almost everywhere: in schools, universities, airports zoos, stadiums and many other places. In a book by Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation, it is explained how the fast food industry is ruling the lives of many American people. It further points that the industry has turned the American heterogeneous society into a homogeneous one headed to disaster. Eric Schlosser’s compelling evidence explores the inventers, builders and the current supporters of the industry. Principally, he covers those involved in the industry from slaughterhouse to advertising house. In bid to rest this case, this paper will discuss the changes in food preparation and distribution over the past half century as demonstrated by Eric Schlosser. In essence, the paper will explain how fast food has influenced the US culture and, in particular, the world of advertising.
The book, Food Nation, explains the production of meat. Essentially, it explains how the cattle are raised in the ranches, slaughtered, and processed for meat. In the raising, slaughtering and processing, Schlosser points out that each of this step give ideal condition for E coli, bacteria responsible for food contamination, to spread. Further, he points the deteriorating working conditions for the employees. In the last chapter, Food Nation nations, he considers that fast food is American’s matured cultural export to other countries after the cold war. Consequently, just like in the US, other parts of the world are facing the challenges of the raising cases of obesity.
Evolutionary, Schlosser points how fast food industry has advanced alongside with the automobile industry. He accounts for the transformation of many restaurants to a few homogeneous franchises. Schlosser points that the transformations have been influenced with culture change of the American society, essentially, fueled with the period when many women started to join the American workforce. According to Schlosser, in 1975, approximately 33% of mothers with young children were employed. However, more than 66% of mothers in the US work outside their homes in recent times. Therefore, the implication is that there is a rise in demand of services previously performed by the mothers. The services range from childcare, cooking to cleaning. According to Schlosser, a generation ago, there has been a rise in expense on what the American spend on fast foods.
Schlosser clearly points out that the target market for the fast of food industry used to be essentially women, but this has since changed. He explains how McDonald’s Corporations has also changed its marketing strategies in The Disney Company. The strategies are now aimed to attract wider scope of children, parents, and grandparents. Principally, the market strategies aimed at instilling brand loyalty in the children; what Schlosser terms as exploitations of the children’s innocence. To market to the children, the corporations collaborated with the schools through sponsorship and partnership. He points that many corporations have maintained continuity sponsorship possibly because of the corporate taxation advantages. According to the sources cited in the book, approximately three-quarters of sponsored text book shave biased information that favors the sponsors. In addition, about one-third of schools offer fast foods.
Fast Food Nation is a book vast in scope; which points both the obvious and invisible for the American people. The consequences of eating at the fast food restaurants go far beyond what we literally imagine. As the American culture, spread far and beyond there is need to rise above the hype of our pre-packaged daily lives. As Schlosser states fast food industry is just like any other business however, the American people need to ask themselves what are losses and gains of fast food.
Schlosser, E. (2002). Fast Food Nation: What the all-American meal is doing to the world. London: Penguin.