America’s fast-food chains keep adding healthy options to their grease-stained menus, hoping that that their Southwest salads and grilled-chicken wraps will keep the nutrition police off their backs. Also, the people demand them! Except for not really, according to the Associated Press (via WaPo). While 47 percent of Americans say they want healthier fast-food options, only 23 percent of Americans order them. Says one of these Americans: “If I wanted something healthy, I would not even stop in at McDonald’s.” Astute logic, to be sure.
If you haven’t noticed, our arteries have recently been subjected to a deep-fried assault, by gross-out options such as the KFC Double Down (reviewed bravely by our own Robert Sietsema), Denny’s Mac and Cheese Patty Melt, and everything on the menu at Carl’s Jr.
And while healthy food is cheaper than fast food if you cook it in your own home, as recently demonstrated by Mark Bittman, ordering healthy items in fast-food restaurants is usually much more expensive than ordering the greasier options:
Healthier foods also are usually among the most expensive menu items, which can be tough for recession-weary customers to stomach. Efrain Vasquez and his wife, Evelyn, were recently eating fried chicken and gravy-drenched mashed potatoes at a KFC in New York. They say there’s a big difference between a $2 burger and a $6 salad when you’re on a tight budget.
“We’ve got bills to pay,” said Efrain Vasquez, 51, a maintenance worker who’s raising four kids with Evelyn, a 37-year-old receptionist. “We try to economize.”
Can vegetables ever compete with wood-pulp-infused industrial beef on cost? Unless there is a major change in our country’s food system (a change desired by many Americans), it looks like fast-food companies will continue to sell many more hamburgers than salads.