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200 × 120 × 17 mm
224 pages
01 Feb 2016
Food Controversies

Fast Food The Good, the Bad and the Hungry Andrew F. Smith

Fast food is the most influential culinary movement of our time. It has spawned an industry that has changed the way the world eats, for it has created a model that works virtually everywhere. At the heart of this industry are large multinational chains, which are expanding in almost every corner of the world. Today, an estimated one million outlets that affect hundreds of millions of people every day are providing access to reasonably tasty food with speed, economy and convenience. Fast food appeals to customers of different nationalities, ethnicities, religions, ages, genders, classes, financial status and culinary traditions.

Andrew F. Smith explores why the industry has been so successful and examines how it has negatively affected the environment, exposed its customers to health risks, degraded the diets of children and underpaid its workers. Critics have published scathing exposés, supported boycotts, engaged in demonstrations and lobbied political leaders to force fast-food corporations to reduce the harm they cause­. When called to account for this damage, fast-food chains have made changes – occasionally substantial, but more often token – in their operations. More commonly, the industry has denied responsibility, blamed customers, castigated suppliers, opposed regulations and initiatives, funded sympathetic political candidates and organizations, sued opponents, blocked unionization and launched media blitzes in the face of negative publicity.

Fast Food examines the industry’s options and those of its customers, and asks what society as a whole can and should do to ameliorate the major problems generated by fast food.

‘Fast Food examines some of the serious controversies related to the fast-food industry, focusing with plenty of facts and figures on six of them: the industrys globalisation the nutritional quality and healthiness of its food and drinks its mass marketing techniques, particularly aimed at children and young people its impact on the environment its massive influence on meat production and the way the industry treats its workers . . . Being well documented it is an important book’ — Methodist Recorder

Fast Food is highly recommended, a timely reminder of exactly whats happening in this pernicious industry. The only drawback is that consumers of fast food are unlikely to read this excellent book.’ — OxVeg online

‘There are numerous facts and figures, but Fast Food: The Good, The Bad & The Hungry is much more than just a compilation of disturbing statistics. It’s a timely reminder of what’s happening in this pernicious industry, and despite the frequently grim subject matter it’s a really good read . . . Perhaps the government should consider forcing McDonalds to replace the free toy in every “Happy Meal” with a copy of this excellent book?’ — Vegan Life

‘The controversies related to the fast food industry are responsibly examined by Smith . . . The work discusses how tie-ins of toys, proximity to schools, and mass marketing through television advertising and social media guarantee fast food popularity with children and teenagers. Smith writes how recent trends toward the use of renewable energy, more nutritious offerings, and more environmentally friendly packaging and architecture are small moves in the right direction. This work includes extensive references that will facilitate further research. Recommended’ — Choice

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Andrew F. Smith teaches at the New School, New York City. He is the author or editor of 32 books, including Fast Food: The Good, the Bad and the Hungry (Reaktion, 2016).


1. The Beginning

2. Globalization

3. Health

4. Marketing

5. Environment

6. Meat

7. Labour

8. The Future