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THE US INVASION: EN ROUTE FOOD

Food of Map

Food of Map

The US is the sole superpower known to the world. After the Second World War, when Germany was defeated, the world was left with two options, either to become a multi-polar world or to be influenced by a sole power. Given the amount of hard power (military power) and structural power (economic power) the US had, a multi-polar world could not have existed. Following these reasons, US hegemony was established in all forms possible and had been followed since. The world has become influenced by America politically, culturally, socially, and economically. Focusing on the cultural aspect of this hegemonic nature of the US, let’s concentrate on how the US invaded the food industry of India.

The US has had a huge impact on the food industry of our nation. It has been years since burgers and French fries have been replacing pakoras and samosas. The way American corporations have marketed themselves into the world market is quite commendable, however, it is quite alarming too. Chains like McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, KFC, Burger King, and so on, are turning the tables in the food world. They are not only food chains, they have become a fashion statement; a fashion statement so affordable and so easily available that its growth has become unstoppable. These chains slowly and steadily entered the Indian (world) market and turned every level in their favor in such a way that the traditional Indian food chains did not realize it until it was too late. The market was over for the Indian food chains as American food chains were the new and the dominant players in the food market.

Today we all would comply westernization and modernization as synonyms. The impact and influence of McDonald’s as an American brand is so huge and so extravagant that very often people prefer using McDonaldization in place of either modernization or westernization. McDonaldization is a term used by sociologist George Ritzer in his book The McDonaldization of Society (1993). He explains that it becomes manifested when a society adopts the characteristics of a fast-food restaurant. McDonaldization is a re-conceptualization of rationalization and scientific management. Where Max Weber used the model of the bureaucracy to represent the direction of this changing society, Ritzer sees the fast-food restaurant as having become a more representative contemporary paradigm (Ritzer, 2004:553). The process of McDonaldization can be summarized as the way in which “the principles of the fast-food restaurant are coming to dominate more and more sectors of American society as well as of the rest of the world.”

Now let’s see some facts about some of the America’s largest food brands and see the influence they have on the entire planet:

  • McDonald’s is the world’s largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 68 million customers daily in 119 countries across 36,538 outlets. Founded in the United States in 1940, the company began as a barbecue restaurant operated by Richard and Maurice McDonald. In 1948, they reorganized their business as a hamburger stand using production line principles. Businessman Ray Kroc joined the company as a franchise agent in 1955. He subsequently purchased the chain from the McDonald brothers and oversaw its worldwide growth.
  • Dunkin’ Donuts is an American global donut company and coffeehouse chain based in Canton, Massachusetts, in Greater Boston. It was founded in 1950 by William Rosenberg in Quincy, Massachusetts. Since its founding, the company has grown to become one of the largest coffee and baked goods chains in the world, with more than 12,000 restaurants in 36 countries. The chain’s products include donuts, bagels, other baked goods, and a wide variety of hot and iced beverages. As of December 28, 2013, there were 10,858 Dunkin’ Donuts retail locations, including 7,677 in the United States and 3,181 in other countries.
  • Burger King(often abbreviated as BK) is an American global chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, headquartered in the unincorporated area of Miami-Dade County, Florida. The company was founded in 1953 as Insta-Burger King; a Jacksonville, Florida-based restaurant chain. After Insta-Burger King ran into financial difficulties in 1954, its two Miami-based franchisees David Edgerton and James McLamore purchased the company and renamed it as Burger King. Over the next half of the century, the company changed hands four times, with its third set of owners; a partnership of TPG CapitalBain Capital, and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, taking it public in 2002. In late 2010, 3G Capital of Brazil acquired a majority stake in the company in a deal valued at US$3.26 billion. The new owners promptly initiated a restructuring of the company to reverse its fortunes. 3G, along with partner Berkshire Hathaway, eventually merged the company with the Canadian-based doughnut chain Tim Hortons, under the auspices of a new Canadian-based parent company named Restaurant Brands International. There are around 15,000 Burger King around the world.
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken(KFC) is a fast food restaurant chain that specializes in fried chicken and is headquartered in LouisvilleKentucky, United States. It is the world’s second largest restaurant chain (as measured by sales) after McDonald’s, with almost 20,000 locations globally in 123 countries and territories as of December 2015. The company is a subsidiary of “Yum! Brands”, a restaurant company that also owns the Pizza Hut and Taco Bell  KFC is a subsidiary of “Yum! Brands”, one of the largest restaurant companies in the world. KFC had sales of $23 billion in 2013. By December 2013, there were 18,875 KFC outlets in 118 countries and territories around the world. There are 4,563 outlets in China, 4,491 in the United States, and 9,821 across the rest of the world.

Seeing this data, it is assured that the US has a strong hold on the food market of the world. However, people should always be careful about the health issues created by these brands. They have been in light, every now and then, for the ill health that they provoke. The health hazards are not short-term, they are long-term illnesses like heart problems and cancers that prevail in their large consumer base. Yes, the US has already invaded the food market of India as well as the world, but for how long, no one can tell.

 

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