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BUSINESS: In the United States alone, consumers spent about US$110 billion on fast food in 2000 (which increased from US$6 billion in 1970).[13] The National Restaurant Association forecasted that fast food restaurants in the U.S. would reach US$142 billion in sales in 2006, a 5% increase over 2005. In comparison, the full-service restaurant segment of the food industry is expected to generate$173 billion in sales. Fast food has been losing market share to fast casual dining restaurants, which offer more robust and expensive cuisines.

GLOBALIZATION: In 2006, the global fast food market grew by 4.8% and reached a value of 102.4 billion and a volume of 80.3 billion transactions.[15] In India alone the fast food industry is growing by 41% a year.[16]

McDonald's is located in 126countries and on 6 continents and operates over 31,000 restaurants worldwide.[17] On January 31, 1990 McDonald’s opened a restaurant in Moscow, and broke opening day records for customers served. The Moscow restaurant is the busiest in the world. The largest McDonald’s in the world is located in Beijing, People's Republic of China.[citation needed]

There are numerous other fast food restaurantslocated all over the world. Burger King has more than 11,100 restaurants in more than 65 countries.[18] KFC is located in 25 countries.[19] Subway is one of the fastest growing franchises in the world with approximately 39,129 restaurants in 90 countries as of May 2009,[20] the first non-US location opening in December 1984 in Bahrain.[21] Pizza Hut is located in 97 countries, with 100 locations inChina.[22] Taco Bell has 278 restaurants located in 12 countries besides the United States.[23]

CRITICISM: Fast food chains have come under fire from consumer groups, such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a longtime fast food critic over issues such as caloric content, trans fats and portion sizes. In 2001, Eric Schlosser's investigative work Fast Food Nation provided Americanswith a detailed look at the culture of fast food from rangeland to the range top. In 2008, Caesar Barber attempted to sue a number of fast food restaurant chains for making him obese. The suit never went to court. Social scientists have highlighted how the prominence of fast food narratives in popular urban legends suggests that modern consumers have an ambivalent relationship (characterized byguilt) with fast food, particularly in relation to children.[24] This guilt is projected onto processed food, where bizarre tales of contamination and lax standards are widely believed.

Some of the concerns have led to the rise of the Slow Food, or local food movements. These movements seek to preserve local cuisines and ingredients, and directly oppose laws and habits that favor fast foodchoices. Proponents of the slow food movement try to educate consumers about what its members considers the richer, more varied and more nourishing tastes of fresh, local ingredients that have been recently harvested. In Japan, the emphasis is instead on education about food nutrition and production, called shokuiku. The government does not campaign against personal decisions but ensures that everycitizen understands where their food comes from.

HEALTH ISSUES: According to the Massachusetts Medical Society Committee on Nutrition, fast food is especially high in fat content, and studies have found associations between fast food intake and increased body mass index (BMI) and weight gain.[25] A 2006 study[26] fed monkeys a diet consisting of a similar level of trans fats as what a person who atefast food regularly would consume. Both diets contained the same overall number of calories. It was found that the monkeys who consumed higher level of trans fat developed more abdominal fat than those fed a diet rich in unsaturated fats. They also developed signs of insulin resistance, which is an early indicator of diabetes. After six years on the diet, the trans fat fed monkeys had gained...
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