Slow Food Vs Fast Food Essay

Comparison/contrast Fast food and Slow food - Comparison Essay Example

Food plays a vital to the growth of living things especially human beings - Comparison/contrast Fast food and Slow food introduction. Lack of food brings growth retardation due to the lack of important nutrients needed by body metabolisms. Whether prepared in hurry or slow, food should be nutritionally balanced so as to cater for bodily needs for proper growth.

The food industry worldwide now has been subjected into two categories of restaurants which majority of people have their meals especially in the developed countries. Fast food chains which emerged in the 1912 in the United States opened a door to more and more fast food chains which changed the mode of food preparations in the restaurants or food outlets. With the concept of ready cooked for sale has revolutionized the hotel hospitality globally. Though fast food chains made life easier for people who are in hurry, cultural cuisine restaurants are also still favored for people want to have their meals in relaxing moment.


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These food outlets both the major role of providing food services to people who sometimes are busy with their daily routines or are tired of cooking and want to go out for dinner or lunch. For quite sometimes food outlets have played a major role not only to the local people, but also to the tourism industry with the flocking of tourists. There is no tourism directory which is not indicating food outlets and restaurants. Apart from contributing immensely to the tourism industry, food outlets have another importance which is contribution to the agriculture, farming and food processing industries.

In the economical aspect, food outlets provide markets for agricultural products and food processing industrial products too. The market provision which contribute not only to the agriculture and industries sectors also plays a role in improving people’s life in the grassroots levels especially in the developing countries.

Food outlets and restaurants create employments such as chefs, waiters, waitresses and manager to mention a few examples. These outlets and restaurants have helped in reducing the unemployment rates both in developed and developing countries. Apart from direct employment, food outlets and restaurants involve other people who deliver services to these outlets and restaurants; these include banks, media, and food suppliers to mention a few.

Nevertheless, these two categories of food outlets have sharp contrasts in the kind of services they provide which has created a gap between them. While Fast food chains outlets provide services with the philosophy of fast and ready for sale, cultural cuisine restaurants maintain their originality of providing services in relaxed, cozy and slow moments to its customers.  A clear different from the slow food that is prepared after customers placing orders first.

Fast food chain outlets to start with, are designed to provide quick services for people who are in hurry, busy and do not have time for enjoying their meals. These include students, travelers, businessmen, and workers. Looking at the fast food chains, which started from the simple cafeteria, and become large franchised businesses globally like McDonalds, KFC, and Wendy’s to mention a few examples. In fast food chains, food is prepared in bulky waiting customers hence it must be kept warm most of the time. The system tends to somehow affect the food taste and in giving satisfaction to their customers, and keeping their businesses profitable, fast food had to invent something which will maintain the taste of the food. Though these fast food outlets started with hamburgers, later on introduced chips, sugary products like ice creams and milkshakes, in all these there is not food with fibres or nutritionally prepared compared to slow food restaurants.

The introduction of hydrogenation about 100 years ago made the fast food preserve soybean oil which is the major cooking oils used by fast food chains; the innovation has proved to have side effects due to its turning liquid oils into solid oils hence forming Trans fat, which clogs arteries. Apart from clogging arteries, these oils have created another problem which has been complained about for ages and that is obesity. Obesity not only to the adults, also to the young ones especially school children who are the major consumers of fast foods. Most of fast food outlets are selling food that are high in carbohydrates, sweetened beverages which I for children and adolescents tend to replace fluid milk from their diet, hence creating high risk of being obese. In United States childhood obesity has become problematic to control as most of school children are purchasing their food due to its cheaper from fast foods and sometimes influenced by advertisements.

Fast food consumption has been on increase since 1970s to the present, with more expansion of food chains worldwide. Another contributing factor for fast food expansion is the cheaper prices compared to cultural restaurants. This has made fast food chains gaining popularity quickly globally as these have ensured meals for even low-earners income people different from normal restaurants which the price has to be higher compared to the cost of productions and preparation of their meals.

Apart from ore criticisms, fast food outlets have played another positive role in contributing to countries economies where they operate. This include the number of people employed in these food chains, though paid low wages, the large percentage employed range from 16 to 20s  hence reducing the rate of unemployment in various countries. Taxes paid to the governments for instance, fast food chains in United States recorded amount of US $ 142 billion profit has contributed large to the American economy.

In protecting the originality and pleasure of preparing meals and purpose of having comfort in having meals in cozy surrounding, slow food movement has managed to bring awareness to people about the effects of fast foods. The main objective was to protect the traditional mode of food preparations, beautifully arranged and finally eaten in relaxed environments. This was done especially in family and friends gathering, or sometimes for individual who value the meaning of preparing and eating in relaxed surroundings.

In the cultural restaurants, there are food varieties in the menu with different preparations like grilling, boiling, steaming and frying unlike fast food which the main preparation is through frying. Through difference in food varieties in restaurants, people have opportunity of eating even food from other place/countries apart from their own, like Thai cuisine, African, Italian and Chinese to mention a few examples as every country has its own methods of preparing foods. Due to the time spent and labor in food preparation, expenses of ingredients, and generous hospitality in the gracious cozy dining restaurants, food prices in these restaurants is higher compared to the fast food outlets. These restaurants have been looked upon as places for wealthy people due to the prices, and making loopholes for fast food outlets. Fast food outlets mostly caters for people who have more than three jobs so to make ends meet, so they don’t have time to appreciate the beauty of slow food restaurants rather than grabbing quick burger and rush to another job.

Due to this expansion globally, with lower prices and complaints about nutritional value of food in fast foods, slow food movement emerged in protecting slow food restaurants which started in Italy when McDonalds wanted to open the fast food there. In the slow food movement which originated from Carlo Petrini in 1986 when he opposed the opening of McDonalds has managed to raise awareness to people about fast foods and the importance of slow food restaurants too. “For most of us, our enjoyment of food has fallen victim to the frenetic pace of our lives and to our increasing estrangement, in a complex commercial economy, from the… More natural processes by which food is grown and produced.” (Petrini Carlo, Slow Food: Case for Taste, 2004). Through these campaigns of counteracting fast food, slow food movements focuses of helping people understand the importance of caring where the food comes from, who make it, how it is made and the joy of eating it.

Another area which has benefited by slow food restaurants is the agriculture and livestock industry. Educating people of the importance of eating in the traditional restaurants have opened more doors for markets for agro and organic products which in the fast foods outlets they don’t have much of use. The movement has managed to connect people producing agro products, farmers, and sellers through promotion of these products. The connection has not been for the farmers only but also about 100 countries have joined this movement of protecting traditional restaurants in the world.

In conclusion, though the slow food movement has been criticized as being elites that focus on small number of people instead of majority. On the other hand, fast food also has played important role in food industry too with its contribution to the economy likewise traditional restaurants. Though these two types of food outlets differ in the services they provide, they are both important in our societies.


Petrini Carlo, Slow Food: Case for Taste, 2004

Homemade food is often treated as a privilege. Low cost of fast food and its nutrition value become a solution for many families who have neither time not money to cook at home. Warnings that fast food is not healthy do not stop Americans who treat it as an essential part of their daily diet. As a result, the prevalence of obese and overweight people plummets. If we look at what is behind attractive pricing strategies and delicious tastes offered at fast food chains, all facts support the idea that homemade food is a better choice. The articles _Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?_ by Mark Bittman and _Fast Food Versus Slow Food_ by Nancy Folbre provide enough facts to motivate people to cook at home. Out of these two articles, Folbre’s specific approach to argumentation makes her writing extremely persuasive and logical advocating cooking at home.

One of the biggest advantages of fast food is that it is really fast. People do not spend much time ordering their food and eating it on the go. People tend to work more and cook less than they used to 50 years ago (Folbre). Technological development simplify people’s attitude to food and cooking; all they need is to heat their meals in the microwave oven. Moreover, accessibility of fast food restaurants is becoming better and better. Contrary to this, cooking at home seems less attractive due to the routine related to this process. Grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning up, and developing cooking skills are required. Because time is the most expensive thing in the world, not all people are ready to spend it on cooking. Many Americans treat cooking as a job and they are confused that they are not paid for it. Complaints of many Americans about lack of time for cooking are common; however, the popularity of food shows is on the peak (Folbre). Instead of cooking, people prefer to watch how others cook.

According to Bittman, there are five fast food restaurants per each supermarket in the United States. If people eat at fast food restaurants, they forget about such chores as cooking and cleaning up and have more time to relax after work. Overall, it is difficult to argue that fast food restaurants are not convenient. In fact, they are life-saving for many people who work long hours and have no time to care about what they eat. Bittman states that average American family watches TV 1.5 hours a day; it means that they have enough free time. They lack motivation to cook and use ‘affordability’ argument to convince others that their behavior is right. A strong belief that cooking at home is expensive stops people from researching the issue in detail. Many of them even do not try to cook at home before they complain that it requires much money.

Folbre uses a strong and persuasive argument to prove that home food is not as expensive as people think about it. She finds that people need 30 minutes to cook a burger at home. This time includes time spent on shopping, washing up, cooking, and serving. While an average burger costs around $4, the cost of ingredients for a burger is $1. Folbre states that 30 minutes spent on cooking can be easily compared to driving to a fast food restaurant or standing in line to buy a burger. Homemade burgers become even more affordable is they are cooked for the family because it still takes a bit more than 30 minutes and four burgers are ready as a result. Folbre’s experiment proves that people can afford to eat at home and it can be economical for their budget. However, time spent on cooking is the reason why many people prefer to eat out.

Additionally, fast food is expensive according to both Bittman and Folbre, purely organic food is also very expensive because it requires special care and conditions to be produced. At the same time, fast food and organic food are two extremes; there are many other food products which are not too expensive and healthy. Bittman challenges ‘affordability’ argument providing a list of alternatives which are budget-friendly. Rice with a simple salad costs less than McDonald’s dinner. It does not require developed cooking skills and much time to be ready. There are many TV-shows, YouTube channels and cook books which offer a number of different recipes for all life occasions. Cooking can be fun if people stop perceiving it as a chore. Bittman tries to catch the issue as a whole; as a result, his article complexly argues for home food benefits.

Nutrition value of fast food is high; poor people believe that they need calories and eagerly consume fries and soda drinks. According to Bittman, Americans consume more calories they need a day; as a result, it leads to health issue related to weight gain. Fast food is addictive; even when people are full, they feel hungry after a while. There are special chemicals and flavors added to fast food to intensify its taste and make it desired for people. Ordinary home food contains less fat and sugar which makes it more useful for people. People who cook at home always know what ingredients they use to cook their meal which allows them making healthier choices. Also, it is very diverse and all people can find something simple to cook but delicious.

In summary, both writers agree that people who experience lack of time and money often eat at fast food restaurants because they believe that it is cheaper than cooking at home. Some of them complain that they do not have time to cook daily. People always have time but set different priorities; some of them prefer to watch TV in the evening and it is their choice. While Bittman tries to persuade people making his argument global, Folbre focuses on the economic side of the issue and creates a solid line of argumentation.

I like this specific approach to persuasion more than generalizations sprinkled by random statistics in Bittman’s article. Folbre successfully proves her point of view with the help of her experiment; she rationally counts money and time spent of home cooking to show that it can be economical and fast. Her research persuades me that cooking can be economical showing real examples in life situations. Bittman only lists alternatives while Folbre uses them and checks their relevance. Moreover, it can be healthier, more nutritious and delicious. Home food contains less sugar and fat while fat is the main source of calories in fast food. People need to try and decide what is better for their health, schedule, and purse.

Works Cited

Bittman, Mark “Is Junk Food Really Cheaper”” Everything’s an Argument with Readings. Ed. Andrea A. Lunsford, John J. Ruszkiewicz, and Keith Walters. 6th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013. 660-665. Print.

Folbre, Nancy. “Fast Food Versus Slow Food”. _The_ _New York Times._ July 29, 2013. Web. July 24, 2014.

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