Fast food is the product of social economy and cultural development to a certain stage. The rapid pace of people's life, the increase of working women, the reduction in family size, and the increase in disposable income are the main reasons for the emergence and prosperity of the fast food industry. There are many different types of fast food. Some of the orders have restaurants (KFC, Burger King, Pizza Hut, etc.), and others rely on mobile apps such as Meituan and Eleme in China, and Foodpanda around the world. In my opinion, the effects of fast food appearance on society are seen in four big aspects, such as food choices, job opportunities, personal health, and government measures.
The main reasons for the appearance and development of fast food are different. McDonald's is the first fast food restaurant in the world in 1948, the main reason why fast food appear is that the pace of society is faster, and people's lives get busy. The development of fast food is related to the Internet. The prevalence of social media in modern society is getting bigger, and people are accustomed to using social media to order food, take-out food started to quickly become popular, and this is also driving the sustainable development of the fast food industry.
Online ordering is so popular because food sellers post a variety of food and price through the Internet intuitively. We can only use the phone to order food five years ago, but the number of orders by phone and online has nearly switched, with online orders on track to surpass phone orders any minute now. Compared with originally ordering by phone, ordering through apps are more straightforward and convenient for customers. The other reason why this kind of ordering style is so highly regarded is that it is time-saving and extra charges are not included, such as transportation expenses or oil costs. Fast food was regarded only as a symbol of quickly producing food before, but now fast food is not only a pronoun of time-saving but also a meaning of delicious food. There even have some burger fanatics dedicated to finding the best burgers around the world. Thus, fast food provides customers with more choices in the manner of ordering way and food variety. “Fast-food outlets are abundant and, while fast food has a reputation for being unhealthful, a growing number of the big chains are adding more nutritious options to their menus” (Kandola, 2019). In the past, fast food was always regarded as unhealthy junk food. But nowadays, people's demand increases and becomes more diversified, to meet people's needs, fast food restaurants have created new models of food that are both healthy and fast, such as Subway, Taco Bell, and Chipotle. So, in general, the fast food industry is evolving and improving themselves.
The appearance of the fast food industry also has a positive impact on employment opportunities. The fast food industry provides two kinds of people a good place to find a job, who are teenagers and non-educated people. As a matter of fact, nowadays, fast food is taking on more and more weight in the workplace. In 2013, the median age of workers in the industry even became 28 years old. It is difficult to live in this highly demanded world with no education and no skills. To survive and support themselves and their families, these people need a job like working in the fast food industry. Teenagers who don’t have work experience also need this job to make them get used to some social rules, and working in fast food restaurant is not too hard or difficult for them. To be honest, it’s quite a suitable job for teenagers. Taking the above into account, no one can deny the fact that the fast food industry is now playing a very important role in providing job opportunities.
Recently, the effects of fast food on our health have been brought into focus, and this phenomenon has become a heated topic. According to a recent study (Fecyt, 2012), eating commercial baked goods (fairy cakes, croissants, doughnuts, etc.) and fast food (hamburgers, hotdogs, and pizza) is linked to depression. The study demonstrates that participants who ate fast food and commercial baked goods are more likely to be single, less active, and have poor dietary habits, which include eating less fruit, nuts, fish, vegetables, and olive oil. Smoking and working more than 45 hours per week are other prevalent characteristics of this group. It proves that fast food not only does harm to our physical health but also causes some kinds of mental problems, even ruining our daily lives. More seriously, fast food like burgers, French fries, and ice creams are all children‘s favorite food, but the nutrition loss and high calories make society worried about children’s health. The fast food industry is the most sensitive to the technology of the modern catering industry, with the introduction of technology, formula, equipment, and talent, the annual increase of more than 20% of the turnover in the rapid development. The wealth effect of technological innovation has greatly stimulated many traditional catering enterprises. Everyone is looking for safe, stable, green, and fast value-added cooking technology. Because people are concerned about health problems, fast food sellers are trying to figure out measures to settle them. From now on, fast food is not only a meaning of junk food but has many kinds of healthy food which can be quickly made.
Evidently, the appearance of fast food has both negative and positive effects. These troubles which cannot be ignored caused by fast food have attracted the attention of the government rapidly, and they did some measures about it. Some governments increase the tax on junk foods. At the same time, they lower taxes on vegetables, fruits, and other healthy foods to guide people to eat healthy. For example, this is how Navajo Nation did. Government can’t use the law to ban fast food production or not allow people to eat them completely, they can only use some measures such as advertisements and taxes to put an attitude to the fast food trend. The most effective means to solve this problem is that people need to realize that eating too much fast food really harms their own health, and self-control themselves to get a high-quality life.
It is difficult to say whether the appearance of fast food is good or not to society in general, as it depends very much on the situation of standpoint. From what has been discussed above, we may reasonably arrive at the conclusion that from a personal point of view find without eating fast food too much and too frequently, eating fast food occasionally is good for our daily life. The fast food industry also does good on food choices, and it helps many people to find jobs. Everything has its own two sides, no exception with fast food. For one thing, it makes our life more convenient and comfortable, for another, it makes us easily put on weight and lead an unhealthy life. But overall, I still believe if we treat fast food with the right attitude, it can do good for our society.