Argumentfor and Against Fast Food Industry
Argumentfor and Against Fast Food Industry
Thefast food industry in the United States is one of the biggestindustries in the economy estimated at $1 trillion (Halkett, 2013).The growth in this industry has been fuelled by the increasing demandin fast food including packages foods in the supermarkets.Nevertheless, the fast food industry has not been withoutcontroversies. It has been continuously criticized for beingunhealthy and fuelling obesity and other related illnesses includingdiabetes, heart diseases, stroke among others. Issues such asemployment in the low wage jobs, political reasons and social issuehave also been used as part of the debate for and against the fastfood industry. As such, debate over the ban or not to ban or regulatethe fast food business in the country has been a hot topic. Thisessay looks at arguments for and against the fast food industry inthe United States.
ArgumentFor Fast Food Industry
Fastfood as the name suggests is a category of food that is readilyavailable to consumers. People prefer fast food because it saves timefor them since it is readily available any day any time of the day.Unlike other foods which require time to prepare, a person can orderfor fast food and get it within a short time. In addition to theavailability, fast foods are cheap as compared to other foods (Diller& Graff, 2011).Fast foods therefore come in handy not only for the people withlimited finances, but also to the upper class as they offer a widerange of foods to suit consumers.
Thecontribution of the fast food industry to the U.S economy isundeniably significant. Major fast food stores like McDonalds, KFC,Dominos Pizza, to mention a few contribute significantly to theUnited States economy. The industry employs a huge number of people.Majority of low wage jobs are provided by the fast food industrycontributing to the growth of the country’s economy. When the jobswere lost during the 2007-2008 economic crisis, the fast foodindustry helped greatly in replacing employment at a higher rate.Killing or over regulating the fast food industry will lead to lossof employment, hence affect the economy negatively.
Likeany other product, users have the freedom to choose what to consumeor not what to consume. Fast food is a choice that consumers have tomake. Denying people their freedom of choice is unconstitutionalhence fast food industry should be allowed to thrive giving people awide range of choices food for food. Those who argue for theregulation of fast food industry overlook the fact that, harmfulproducts like alcohol and cigarettes are allowed, and it is upon theconsumer to decide whether to use them or not (Moodieet al., 2013).In addition, people have a choice to the so called healthy foods,thus fast food is just a personal choice.
ArgumentAgainst Fast Food Industry
Onthe other hand, fast foods have been associated with several healthproblems due to their high calorie content. They are the maincontributors to the obesity pandemic that has hit the United Statesin the past decade. It is estimated that, a third of the U.S populaceare obese with children making 17 percent of obese population(Halkett, 2013). Obesity is associated with various health problemsincluding diabetes and heart diseases. The fast food industrytherefore contributes to the problem of ill health in the country.Being obese is not only a personal problem but also a national issue.Obese people are less efficient at work since they are unhealthytake sick leaves leading to loss of employers’ time and money.Insurance companies also find it a burden to insure obese people.Most companies refuse cover to such individuals because they are atrisk of complicated lifestyle diseases that may cost the insurer alot of money (Diller& Graff, 2011).
Consequently,the fast food industry offers low wages to its employees. Most of thejobs in the fast food industry are taken by college students who arelooking for cash to support themselves or adults seeking tosupplement their income. On average fast foods pay $10 per hour whichis way below and does not have significant impact on the lives of theworkers. A series of strikes have in the recent past increased amongfast food workers seeking for an increment in the wages paid to them.The congress and other stakeholders have been pushing for an increaseof the wages to $15 an hour which has not been achieved yet (Cohn,2014). Nebraska, Alaska, Arkansas and South Dakota are some of thestates that have been proposing for a hike in fast food wages. Thelow wages offered by the fast food sector end up costing taxpayers alot of money as workers are forced to depend on public assistanceprograms such as Medicaid and food stamps to get by which in the endcost billions of dollars to American taxpayers annually (Cohn, 2014).
Fastfood industry has been of great political interest in the UnitedStates. Every election year, fast food companies spend a significantamount of money to fund politicians. In return these politiciansprotect the interest of the fast food sector by rejecting any plansto regulate the sector. The industry is the country’s largestpolitical campaign donors pumping an estimated $107 million oncongregational and presidential campaigns (Halkett, 2013). This hasresulted to politicians supporting for subsidies in fast foodingredients. For example, $17 billion goes to crops like corn andsoybeans which are the main ingredients for fast food industry, withonly $260 million being allocated to healthy foods like fruits andvegetables (Halkett, 2013). Thus, the fast food industry isunethically growing at the expense of the health of the Americans.
Thefast food companies use fancy advertisements to market their productsacross the population. Children and adults have fallen victims ofsuch promotional strategies ending up consuming more junk foods thatput their health at risk. In addition, the companies do not indicatethe health risk of junk to the consumer’s health like alcohol andtobacco companies do. They even lie to consumers regarding the numberof calories present in some of their foods. For example, McDonaldsBig Macs are labelled to have 470 calories when in actual sense have590 calories. The fast food industry should be compelled or regulatedto ensure consumers get the right information regarding what they areconsuming.
Fastfood industry has thrived from high profits that they make from salesof their products to millions of Americans every single day. Besidesrisking the health of people, the fast foods are expensive. It wouldnormally cost almost the same amount to prepare a healthy meal or eathealthy food than eating a burger or pizza from a fast food joint(Moodieet al., 2013).Therefore the government need to support more healthy foods and cutdrastically on the survival of junk food industry.
Conclusively,the fast food industry in America is one of the largest. It isshrouded by political, economic and social controversy leading to aheated debate regarding the industry. Most notable is the argumentthat it contributes to obesity and other related health issues.Regardless, the fast food industry contributes largely to the economyof the United States of an estimated $1 trillion. The industry alsoprovides employment to a greater number of low wage workers eventhough this low wage have been associated with negative impact on theeconomy by opponents of fast food industry. Politicians have largelybeen involved in the fast food in the debate with the industry beingthe largest donor of political campaigns in the country. This has ledto enormous support by congress of policies supporting the industry,and shunning those policies that seem to increase regulation or riskthe survival of the industry. Summative, the fast food industry islike other consumer industries. Consumers have a choice to make andit is not upon the government to decide for them. With increasingknowledge regarding the negative health consequences of junk food,individuals need to change voluntarily on the consumption of junk.Whereas junk is risky for health, it comes in handy at times and oneneeds to balance between healthy foods and junk.
Diller,P. A., & Graff, S. (2011). Regulating food retail for obesityprevention: how far can cities go? TheJournal of Law, Medicine & Ethics,39(s1),89-93.
Moodie,R., Stuckler, D., Monteiro, C., Sheron, N., Neal, B., Thamarangsi,T., … & Casswell, S. (2013). Profits and pandemics: preventionof harmful effects of tobacco, alcohol, and ultra-processed food anddrink industries. TheLancet,381(9867),670-679.
Halkett,K. (2013 Feb, 11). USFood Industry Battles Against Regulation.Common Dreams. Retrievedhttp://www.commondreams.org/views/2013/02/11/us-food-industry-battles-against-regulation(Accessed January 9, 2015).
Cohn,E. (2014 Oct, 27). Next Time Someone Says Fast Food Isn`t A Real Job,Remember This. HuffingtonPost.Retrievedhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/27/fast-food-jobs-real_n_6028404.html(Accessed January 9, 2015).