Term Paper: Fast Food Nation -- Chapter

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[. . .] One can't imagine the French or Italians caring more about the packaging of their food than the taste, because these countries have long-standing food cultures. It is the consistency and order that Americans craved, and it became a part of the food culture in the absence of any other existing tradition. Kroc, Schlosser writes, used to say he was really more in show business than the restaurant business, a statement that is a reflection of how Americans think about food.

In the section devoted to the ways in which McDonald's caters to kids, Schlosser points out that a quarter of a century ago, not many American companies catered to kids -- McDonald's and Disney were innovators in this area. Kroc knew that attracting the kids would draw in the parents, who have money to spend and a desire to keep their children quiet and happy, especially now that so many families have two parents working and spend less time together. By placing ads on television, McDonald's took advantage of the huge influence television commercials have on the desires and kids and the spending habits of their parents, and this was instrumental in making McDonald's one of the most well-recognized brands in history.

Another way in which McDonald's has made itself a part of American culture is by linking with manufacturers of toys and giving away prizes in Happy Meals. Again, Kroc's idea that fast food is not just about the food is demonstrated with the success of the Happy Meal; Schlosser writes that when McDonald's gave away Beenie Babies in its Happy Meals, they sold about 10 million Happy Meals in a typical week. In 1996, McDonald's finally connected with its inspiration, Disney, and signed a ten-year marketing agreement with the Walt Disney Company. This connection between Disney and McDonald's seemed to ensure that both would remain significant parts of American culture, food and otherwise, and as Schlosser says, the work of Walt Disney and Ray Kroc "had come full circle."

Schlosser ends his chapter by pointing out how McDonald's role in American food culture is creating problems, particularly for children. By convincing families that McDonald's is a "trusted friend," a partner in life, they implied that McDonald's cared about the health and well-being of its customers. In fact, the phrase, found in confidential marketing materials never meant for public consumption, implied that McDonald's was primarily about food, which Schlosser contends it is not. He goes on to point out that McDonald's uses corporate sponsorship to gets its products in schools and influence students to eat its products, and this has a detrimental effect on the health of Americans, especially children.

Schlosser does not deny the impressive level of influence that companies like McDonald's and Disney have had on Americans, but he seems to be cautioning that America's lack of a true food culture has led us down a road toward poor health and obesity. It's important to understand just how deeply McDonald's is ingrained in our everyday lives; this understanding goes hand in hand with making better choices about what we eat. We also need to understand that choosing to eat fast food isn't usually a fully conscious choice at all thanks to Ray Kroc; instead, eating burgers, shakes and fries feels normal to Americans thanks to McDonald's extensive marketing efforts. If we had an established food culture at the time of Kroc's rise, McDonald's might just be another novelty, secondary to real American food. Instead, McDonald's has become synonymous with American food and the company helps shape our tastes and desires… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Fast Food Nation -- Chapter.  (2004, October 12).  Retrieved July 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/fast-food-nation-chapter/13738

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"Fast Food Nation -- Chapter."  Essaytown.com.  October 12, 2004.  Accessed July 19, 2019.