The food and beverages industry, a global one, is an interesting bag of surprising and often contradicting facts. The food and beverages industry is a really global one, meaning there is almost no place on this planet that this industry does not cover. You are as likely to find a food joint in Mongolia as you are in Mozambique. The reason is simple: we can live without many things, but not without food. Any surprise that this industry is a giant, valued at a few trillion dollars globally?
The food and beverages industry in the US is characterized by several interesting facts. Many of these could be in the positive and some, in the negative. Whether it is about the positive or the negative factors one is talking about, there is no doubt about one thing, which is that the food and beverages industry is one filled with very interesting facts. Let us take a look at some of these:
One in seven Americans eats fast food everyday
It is estimated that as many as 50 million Americans consume fast food every single day, without a weekend or a vacation! This is more than the population of many countries. The most important reason for this is the quickness and convenience associated with fast food. Further, out of these, nearly 20 million, one in 16 Americans, visit a full-service restaurant on any given day. Yet, surprisingly, this is the same percentage of Americans who have been eating outside for the past 15 years!
Millions of children eat fast food in the US
As many as a third of the children aged between two and nine years eat fast food daily in the US. The media could be playing a part in this because it is estimated that on average, the American child is exposed to three to five ads for fast foods every single day. This rate of consumption is cause for some worry for policy makers and health experts, although one silver lining could be that children are more aware of the importance of eating clean food.
American cuisine is still the top hit
Among the millions of Americans who make up the market for the food and beverage industry, four fifths of all food consumed in hotels in the US is American. While the cuisines of most other countries are still popular, this figure points to the overwhelming preference for American food by those who eat outside. Want to know which the least preferred cuisine is? It is Scandinavian and Nordic food, which is consumed by only two percent of those eating outside. Adding to the interesting facts about the food and beverages industry is the point that a high proportion of Americans like their food to contain local, fresh ingredients and flavors.
Americans eat the most outside during warm weather
Call it a case of sunny binge or the lethargy of getting out of home during the cold seasons; it is a fact that Americans eat more outside during the warm seasons.
The fast food industry is highly concentrated
While there are hundreds of players in the fast food industry, an interesting fact about the food and beverages industry is that almost all the food consumed by the Americans is sold by only a handful of companies such as PepsiCo, Kellogg and General Mills and a handful others.
Information about the food is an important factor
Another of the interesting facts about the food and beverages industry is that for Americans who eat outside, information about the food’s nutritional content is a major factor when it comes to eating outside. This is followed by how many options the restaurant offers for low calorie foods.
Want to recommend a restaurant to a friend? Think again!
Surprising as it may sound, one of the truly interesting facts about the food and beverages industry is that a friend’s recommendation or online suggestions are the least important factors that motivate people to go out and dine at restaurants. The top factors are still the quality of food, followed by the time taken to travel to the restaurant and the quality of service.
Move towards cleaner food
The move towards cleaner food by the industry as a whole is one of the other interesting facts about the food and beverages industry. With children themselves becoming aware of the need for cleaner food, as we just saw, does it surprise that chains such as McDonalds are making conscious efforts towards preparing and selling cleaner food?
Nutritional labels can be deceptive
Facts about nutrition that are ubiquitous on food labels are misleading. They are almost never 100% truthful. While the facts relating to the percentage of the ingredients may not be fully wrong, the claimed benefits can be off target. Isn’t is one of the interesting facts about the food and beverages industry that in this information-driven society, there is still a lot of scope for manipulation?
Now, the most unpleasant interesting fact about the food and beverage industry…
America leads in food waste
Whether it is at homes or in restaurants, especially in the latter, the proportion of food that is wasted is extremely high. As much as two fifths of all the food eaten in restaurants ends up in the waste baskets. One of the main reasons for this factor is that what is left behind in the plates is insufficient to make a full meal of, as a result of which it finds its way to the bin. When the food wasted in transport and while being cooked is accounted for, this amounts to an average of $2,000 being spent on just wasting food by every American during a year.
This gives North America the dubious distinction of being the top waster of food anywhere in the world. This region wastes around 95-110 kilos of food per person per year, which places it several notches ahead of the region at the other end of the list: sub-Saharan Africa, which wastes around six to seven percent of this ratio. This wasted food can have extremely serious consequences for the rest of the world. While being responsible for a carbon footprint of about three gigatons, this wasted food also consumes as much as 28% of the world’s agricultural area!