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Fast Food Nation Short Summary


Fast food nation by Eric Schlosser is a non-fiction book where Schlosser discusses the fast-food industry in the United States. He researched the subject, and he uses the results to discuss the rise of fast food businesses and also the composition of the foods chemically.

Schlosser explains that the industry was founded on poor principles and that it has greatly affected the health of the citizens, the workers, and also the environment.

The fast-food industry rose as a result of greedy business entrepreneurs at the time after WW2. One of the first few places that the businesses started was California, whereby they had a drive-through since many people were driving there by then. This then paved the path for chains of fast-food restaurants in the US. Since then, they have become popular and successful as a result. The founders of these fast-food chains found ways of production, distribution, and marketing that made them great fortunes. The innovations made to the fast-food business were the result of historical developments. Schlosser describes how various innovations impacted the US.

Some of these developments aimed at helping businesses reduce the cost of operations. A good example is the introduction of frozen foods after WW2. Buying frozen supplies was cheaper than fresh ones. This made foods like fries easy to produce and sell. Independent farmers who thrived on fresh productions were outmatched. Furthermore, clients could not receive the essential nutritional content present in fresh products.

Macdonalds adopted an assembly line operation that made it so that even the unskilled laborers could prepare the food. This made employees very expendable. They hence had to settle for low pay since they had no bargaining position.

The chains worked to increase the demand for their commodities. At first it was through the invention of the drive-through capabilities, which became a huge hit. They went further to reduce the menu items to make it simple to order. Then they even went ahead and promoted serving foods that did not require utensils to consume and by that eliminated the need for anyone to cut their food.

Fast food chains also invested in familiarity. For example, each Mcdonalds had to serve similar menu items, so customers knew what to expect when they went in. Schlosser paints fast foods as a damaging force to the society. One of his arguments is that the centralizing of slaughterhouses increased the risk of an outbreak of food poisoning since all meat came from one place. His research, however, does not have enough to prove any increase in food poisoning as a result of fast food which works against his arguments.

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