The Externalities of Fast Food
Fast Food in the United States has grown from a $6-billion-a-year industry in 1970 into a juggernaut with a reported $239 billion in annual revenues in 2020.
The industry’s economic clout has not only enabled it to radically shift our countries consumption patterns (as well as those around the globe), it has also fundamentally altered the very way our food is produced.
Enormous purchasing power and demand for vast amounts of inexpensive goods are among the principal driving forces behind factory farming and massive government subsidies for staple crops like corn and soy.
The follow pages highlight the unintended consequences of Fast Food on our Agricultural, Natural Resources, and Waste systems.
We challenge you to get creative and explore the external costs and resulting externalities that may come from the things you buy in your day-to-day lives.
Whether that’s the price difference between a carton of generic ice cream and a scoop from your local creamery, or the reason plastic bags are (typically) free.
*btw, there are also a handful of positive externalities that come with fast food, we’ll have a blog post about that here soon