Fast food (or junk food) is the name given to food that can be prepared and served quickly, often served at basic restaurants or in packaged form for convenient takeaway/takeout. It is typically inexpensive to buy but unhealthy to eat.
Popular forms of fast food include burgers, fries, pizza, fish and chips, kebabs and fried chicken.
Well known fast food franchises and restaurants include McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Burger King.
As well as at restaurants, fast food is commonly sold at convenience stores and gas stations. Examples of this include hotdogs, meat pies and doughnuts.
Fast food is often highly processed and produced on a large scale to decrease costs. Ingredients and various menu items are typically prepared at a different location before being sent to restaurants to be cooked, reheated or quickly put together for the customer’s convenience.
While hamburgers, fries and pizza are seen as traditional fast foods, countries throughout the world sell all types of fast food that may not be so well known. Some examples of these include kebabs, Chinese takeaways (friend noodles, rice and meat dishes), sushi and bento type foods in Japan and fish and chips in the UK, New Zealand and Australia.
Consumers in the USA spend over $100 billion on fast food every year.
McDonald’s is arguably the worlds most well known fast food chain. There are McDonald’s restaurants found in over 100 countries around the world and they serve over 40 million customers every day.
Due to increased awareness of public health and obesity levels, efforts have been made to improve fast food menus by lowering fat levels or at least offering healthier alternatives. While these health concerns are generating more attention, fast food is still linked to worldwide weight gain problems, increased diabetes risks and healthcare costs.