Wealthy waists: The role of fast food in Southeast Asia

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Somewhere on a raucous street corner in downtown Kingston, Jamaica, dinnertime is rolling around, but instead of making a beeline for their regular street-side hawker, Jamaicans are becoming increasingly enticed to the magnetising glow of fast food storefronts, which seem to shout out promises of reliability and convenience.

The shift away from traditional diets and local cuisine to fast, convenient food is a phenomenon being witnessed not only in the developing world, but elsewhere in the countries of OECD, research conducted by the UN has concluded.

“Even in Greece they are moving away from Mediterranean diets to chips, ice cream and Coke,” Dr Sumiter Broca, Policy Officer at the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation told Inside Investor. “We have also noticed a similar pattern in Italy, which has a strong history of traditional cuisine, but has also taken to fast food.”

Yet while the time pressures placed on the modern family unit and sedentary lifestyles bred of computerised workplaces are at the crux of the global rise in poorer standard diets and over-nutrition, the issue is being further compounded in the developing world by a urge to mold contemporary diets to the prestige-imbued Western diets of assembly-line-inspired convenience.

“There is a prestige element associated with going to a KFC,” Dr Broca explains. “Just being able to show that you can afford to eat at a Western establishment is a draw.”

The sustained economic rise of the Asia-Pacific, as well as other emerging markets, has given vast swathes of the developing world increased disposable income to dine out more frequently and experiment with new tastes. Like nobility of the Middle Ages in Europe, it appears the the higher up the wealth ladder an individual climbs brings relatively greater risk to widening the waist.

Domino’s Pizza Inc recently announced that growth in the pizza business outside of the US, which is worth an estimated $90 billion, has prompted the company to open 200 new stores in Asia to appeal to growing demand in Western-style food.

The population growth and rise in income are evident. In Asia, the pizza business is growing at a rate of 5 per cent per year.

Malaysian franchiser holder of Domino’s Dommal Food Services established their 100st outlet in Malaysia in December 2012, and is already ironing out strategies to add another 100 to their portfolio.

“We aim to set up stores at the east coast early next year and enter Sabah and Sarawak by the end of 2013. Come 2014, we will have Domino’s Pizza stores in every Malaysian state,” Executive chairman for Malaysia and Singapore, Datuk George Ting was quoted as saying the Malay Mail.

Pizza pies and other guilty delights thrust in front of households where the value of time has gone up for husbands and wives plugged into more mechanized routines will continue to contribute to the rise of obesity, experts believe.

In Malaysia, where one in six Malaysians is either overweight or obese, making it the most obese country in Southeast Asia, according to the Malaysian Health Ministry, more access to fattier diets may lead to a tipping point in the rise of heart disease, diabetes and hypertension disorder.

Harmful health effects of modern convenience-driven diets may end up creating more health risks in children then parents in the Asia-Pacific, the report Attacking the Double Burden of Malnutrition in the Asia-Pacific postulates. According to the research, mile-a-minute modern working families in Asia are increasingly strapped for time and choose convenient food with less nutritional value for their children over home-cooked meals, often leading to themselves being under- or poorly nourished themselves.

Let learn

But who are we to stand from an Ivory Tower and shout down to the masses at what the developing world can and cannot eat for the sake of food supply stability and adverse effects on healthcare systems.

The answer, it would seem, is in educating people of the effects poor diets have on themselves, their economy and finite resources, such as water, of which high-protein diets drain more of.

“What kind of education, who administers it and through what medium are questions that still remain,” Dr Broca said.

Far afar the culture of convenient is seems unlikely to fad. Re-engineering global food supplies to conform to food security needs much more likely to be the only way forward.

 

 

 

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Somewhere on a raucous street corner in downtown Kingston, Jamaica, dinnertime is rolling around, but instead of making a beeline for their regular street-side hawker, Jamaicans are becoming increasingly enticed to the magnetising glow of fast food storefronts, which seem to shout out promises of reliability and convenience. The shift away from traditional diets and local cuisine to fast, convenient food is a phenomenon being witnessed not only in the developing world, but elsewhere in the countries of OECD, research conducted by the UN has concluded. “Even in Greece they are moving away from Mediterranean diets to chips, ice cream...

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Somewhere on a raucous street corner in downtown Kingston, Jamaica, dinnertime is rolling around, but instead of making a beeline for their regular street-side hawker, Jamaicans are becoming increasingly enticed to the magnetising glow of fast food storefronts, which seem to shout out promises of reliability and convenience.

The shift away from traditional diets and local cuisine to fast, convenient food is a phenomenon being witnessed not only in the developing world, but elsewhere in the countries of OECD, research conducted by the UN has concluded.

“Even in Greece they are moving away from Mediterranean diets to chips, ice cream and Coke,” Dr Sumiter Broca, Policy Officer at the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation told Inside Investor. “We have also noticed a similar pattern in Italy, which has a strong history of traditional cuisine, but has also taken to fast food.”

Yet while the time pressures placed on the modern family unit and sedentary lifestyles bred of computerised workplaces are at the crux of the global rise in poorer standard diets and over-nutrition, the issue is being further compounded in the developing world by a urge to mold contemporary diets to the prestige-imbued Western diets of assembly-line-inspired convenience.

“There is a prestige element associated with going to a KFC,” Dr Broca explains. “Just being able to show that you can afford to eat at a Western establishment is a draw.”

The sustained economic rise of the Asia-Pacific, as well as other emerging markets, has given vast swathes of the developing world increased disposable income to dine out more frequently and experiment with new tastes. Like nobility of the Middle Ages in Europe, it appears the the higher up the wealth ladder an individual climbs brings relatively greater risk to widening the waist.

Domino’s Pizza Inc recently announced that growth in the pizza business outside of the US, which is worth an estimated $90 billion, has prompted the company to open 200 new stores in Asia to appeal to growing demand in Western-style food.

The population growth and rise in income are evident. In Asia, the pizza business is growing at a rate of 5 per cent per year.

Malaysian franchiser holder of Domino’s Dommal Food Services established their 100st outlet in Malaysia in December 2012, and is already ironing out strategies to add another 100 to their portfolio.

“We aim to set up stores at the east coast early next year and enter Sabah and Sarawak by the end of 2013. Come 2014, we will have Domino’s Pizza stores in every Malaysian state,” Executive chairman for Malaysia and Singapore, Datuk George Ting was quoted as saying the Malay Mail.

Pizza pies and other guilty delights thrust in front of households where the value of time has gone up for husbands and wives plugged into more mechanized routines will continue to contribute to the rise of obesity, experts believe.

In Malaysia, where one in six Malaysians is either overweight or obese, making it the most obese country in Southeast Asia, according to the Malaysian Health Ministry, more access to fattier diets may lead to a tipping point in the rise of heart disease, diabetes and hypertension disorder.

Harmful health effects of modern convenience-driven diets may end up creating more health risks in children then parents in the Asia-Pacific, the report Attacking the Double Burden of Malnutrition in the Asia-Pacific postulates. According to the research, mile-a-minute modern working families in Asia are increasingly strapped for time and choose convenient food with less nutritional value for their children over home-cooked meals, often leading to themselves being under- or poorly nourished themselves.

Let learn

But who are we to stand from an Ivory Tower and shout down to the masses at what the developing world can and cannot eat for the sake of food supply stability and adverse effects on healthcare systems.

The answer, it would seem, is in educating people of the effects poor diets have on themselves, their economy and finite resources, such as water, of which high-protein diets drain more of.

“What kind of education, who administers it and through what medium are questions that still remain,” Dr Broca said.

Far afar the culture of convenient is seems unlikely to fad. Re-engineering global food supplies to conform to food security needs much more likely to be the only way forward.

 

 

 

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