Fast food changing fast for health

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Fast food changing fast for health

With the “well-being” craze dominating the country, fast food is losing its appeal to the public.
Fast food gained popularity for its convenience and cheap price, but it is now blamed for causing obesity and hypertension. The restaurants have also became a negative symbol of Western dominance of the world economy.
A “slow-food movement” has started among the public, and there has been even a film detailing the ill effects of fast food on our body. In response, fast food companies are changing their strategies: their foods have become healthier and tastier.
Domino’s Pizza is attempting an image change by altering its slogan to “premium quality pizza.” The company decided that they would only survive by following the well-being trend rather than sticking to the typical image of convenient junk food.
Domino’s new menu item, “Triple Cheese Pizza,” uses naturally cultured cheese from France, Switzerland and England. “Camembert” cheese from France supposedly has slightly more protein than beef and 200 percent more calcium.
It also is abundant in lactic acid, produced during the natural curing process and helps digestion. The price of the pizza is almost 30,000 won ($30), more expensive than ordinary pizza.
McDonald’s, perhaps the world’s most well-known fast food company, is also following a similar path. Rather than advertising its iconic Big Mac burger, the chain is focusing more on chicken salad and other foods with half the calories of the fatty slab of meat.
Lotteria, a domestic fast food company, has recently offered new, healthier products such as rye bread burgers, which have only 350 calories.
Other fast food companies seem to have a slightly different strategy. Burger King, the second most popular burger franchise in Korea, is going with “good taste.”
When McDonald’s and Lotteria competed with prices, Burger King created a steak house burger with a thicker and juicier beef patty. But it costs 4,900 won, quite high compared to regular burgers.
But the company reports the burger has taken 29 percent of the company’s total sales after just a month, with juicier meat from New Zealand. Kentucky Fried Chicken, another well-known franchise, has introduced herb garlic chicken, adding various spices to its chicken.
With the taste improvements, the two companies are trying to keep existing customers rather than attracting new ones.
Even though maniac junk food lovers only make up 18 percent of fast food eaters, that percentage makes up almost half of its total sales. Being aware of that figure, Burger King made its slogan, “Have It Your Way,” targeting old fans.
So far, products with higher prices and quality ingredients have been successful.
While McDonald’s and Lotteria ran into the red last year, Burger King saw increased profits for the year. Domino’s, which also sprinkled more expensive ingredients on its pizza, saw its annual sales jump more than 30 percent.

by Lee Hun-ho
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