Countries That Consume the Most Fast Food or Junk Food

In this fast and ever-changing world, people just do not have the time anymore to prepare and enjoy food like the old days. Everyone tries to grab a bite whenever and wherever they can in order to ensure that there will be more free hours to do something else. It does not help that the items offered in fast food restaurants are admittedly pretty tasteful, easy to digest, and light on the pocket. Of course, the health concern is another story.

The likes of McDonald’s will forever remain part of our culinary horizon and it should be no wonder that the places where fast food is king are also the ones where life goes by like a blur. Here now is a list of the top 10 countries that consume the most fast food or junk food in the world.

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10 Sweden

Fast food chains in Sweden offer temporary menus in order to attract a consistent flow of customers. The tactic is also intended to expand the public’s awareness of the fast food chain. Temporary menus are only offered for a month and promoted heavily with advertising. McDonald’s is the leader with 28 percent of the market. With the government decision to reduce foodservice VAT by more than half to 12 percent, the industry is expected to further expand.

9 Switzerland

McDonald’s is the undisputed leader with 152 outlets and a 45 percent share of the market, compared to Burger King that has only 26 outlets and measly two percent share. Even though concerns have been raised with rising obesity rates, the convenience offered by fast food chains is enough to continue attracting customers.

8 Germany

German fast food companies have been actively involved in the research and development of new items that are supposed to be healthier options, like salads and other vegetarian dishes. The trend is a result of the country’s demographic, with the German population ageing considerably. Aside from the usual McDonald’s and Burger King, other big players are Nordsee that specializes in fish fast food, and Subway.

7 Austria

Fast food consumption in Austria increased considerably in 2008 during the height of the economic crisis, when consumers started transferring from full service restaurants to fast food. The industry’s grasp of the market remained strong even as the economy has gotten better. Fast food restaurants are marketing their items as healthy and high-quality, with Toni Morwald, an Austrian chef with a Michelin star, developing some of its recipes.

6 Japan

The fast food sector was one of the industries that experienced positive growth after the 2011 earthquake. Consumers reduced the amount of energy used at home and looked for ways to replace house-cooked meals, and they turned to fast food restaurants. The company with the biggest share of the market at 24 percent was 7-Eleven Japan Co. Ltd. It had the largest geographical coverage in the country with 13,865 outlets.

5 South Korea

The uncertainty brought about by the economic crisis forced many Koreans to look for cheaper options, with the fast food industry benefitting the most in the food service sector. Paris Croissant Co. was the leading fast food company with a 19 percent share, primarily because of its Paris Baguette chain. Its expansion, however, has slowed down because franchisees have been complaining that the market is already saturated. The restaurant has instead concentrated on further developing its coffee and dessert menus.

4 United Kingdom

Due to pressures to come up with healthier items, some of the biggest fast food companies in the United Kingdom, including McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King, all signed up to the Public Health Responsibility Deal. The first two also decided to release calorie information of all its food products on their menu boards. Subway reduced the salt level of all its food by a third.

3 Canada

The leading fast food company in Canada is Tim Hortons, accounting for 25 percent of the market. McDonald’s and Subway had 11 percent and six percent shares. All three saw its market shares increase, which means that the smaller chains suffered during the period. While burgers remained stable, bakery fast food increased the most. Chicken and ice cream fast foods were the items that suffered the most.

2 France

France is known for its fine dining ways. Just mention the words French restaurant and you will immediately think of classy, albeit expensive, dining fares. In reality, even France has seen a boom in fast food dining, so much so that it has now overtaken the overall sales of traditional restaurants in the country, with 54 percent of all revenues. Joints offering burgers, sandwiches, pizzas and the likes have seen sales go up by as much as 14 percent last year. Burger King, which closed down its French operation 16 years ago because it could not gain any traction, has come back with great success. Subway’s branches have increased by 400 stores in the last 10 years. The reasons for this are that the French are now learning to eat alone and that the lunch hours in the country are shrinking. Having a lunch break of only 22 minutes is simply not enough to eat a multi course meal.

1 United States

The United States eats the most fast food in the world. Burgers are the most popular form of fast food, taking up more than 50 percent of total fast food expenditure in the country. Despite efforts by fast food companies to offer a healthier menu, the industry is still largely blamed for the rise in unhealthy eating habits and in the increase in obesity rates. McDonald’s has the largest share of the market with 17 percent, though Burger King, Subway and Wendy’s were not that far behind. Total sales of the industry increased by five percent, the largest growth recorded since 2007. As a result, the recovery of the fast food companies since the recession can now be deemed as complete.

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