I overheard some parents recently talking about how their pre-school kids prefer to eat hamburgers and not their vegetables, and how they were getting so chubby.
One of the mothers said, she was also putting on weight because she was eating the junk food too, but it was easier to give in to their kids than fight it. Then one of the parents added, “yeah, McDonalds are so evil”.
But are they really one of the most evil food producers? McDonalds are selling a product that people buy. They are supplying to meet a need (or ‘want’). This is why they have inspired so many rivals.
Are they selling a product which can kill people? Yes. Are they selling a product that does kill BILLIONS of animals. Hell yes. Is the Amazon rainforest being chopped down to make cattle ranches? Yes (may or may not be McDonalds doing it)
If the true cost of a hamburger was reflected in the charge to consumers it would sell for about $100. The pollution, chemical waste, health care costs, environmental degradation, and subsidies of farming from governments, none of these factors are considered in the retail cost.
They do these things because they can. Because it is not illegal, because people continue to buy their product. What ever problems society has with them is a reflection of that society and not a company who is in business to make a profit.
There was a big controversy recently in New Zealand when Weight-Watchers (TM) teamed up with McDonalds to add the Weight-Watchers logo to select items to the menu. And in return Weight-Watchers will promote McDonalds. But Weight-Watchers (TM) food is so full of artificial low fat, fake sugar additives anyway, they seem like perfect partners to me.
But why are animal welfare groups getting upset that they treat the animals badly? They sell dead bodies and all you care about the size of the cages or slaughtering methods?
and Why are parents getting upset that their kids fill up on junk food and not vegetables? There must a reason why they do it.
Why are health officials upset at the levels of saturated fats, salt, sugar, etc in the food? McDonalds sell what they are legally allowed to. In the US President Obama wanted to crack down on the level of salt in food and Glen Beck and other talking heads acted like it was the coming of the Fourth Reich.
Why are busy working parents, on low incomes feeding their family this pretend food? Because healthy food isn’t always, fast, cheap or available, and fast food requires no arguments over who cleans up.
Why do more 3 year-olds recognise the McDonalds golden M symbol than their own name? Is this really McDonalds problem, or a problem with when the legislators allow junk food to be advertised to children? and the parents who feed their children junk.
McDonalds – and fast food corporations like it – are symptoms. They show us what is wrong with the nutritional information available, and the healthy alternative messages not getting out, animal liberation allowing the animal debate to be dominated by welfarists, lack of information about healthy, fast, cheap alternatives, access to nutritious alternatives. What ever problems we have with them and their rivals – from labour practices, to environmental destruction, to animal welfare issues, the ads and toy products aimed at very young children, or even just the food itself – this is what we (as a society) have allowed to happen.
And if we don’t like it, what are we doing besides complaining about it.
…. And in terms of what it is doing to our kids health, At least it’s not a KFC Double-Down – that’s a whole other story.