With McDonald's Profit falling 30% over the course of 2014t hey are desperately trying to stay relevant. The fast food market is evolvolging world of innovative food creations and processees.
The history of fast food in America can be attributed advances in food processing, preparation, and preservation. At the start of the twentieth century the hamburger was invented by Louis Lunch in New Haven CT, followed by Nathan's Hotdogs opening in Coney Island 1916, and White Castle debuting in 1921 Witchitah Kansas. It wouldn't be until 1953 that the first McDonald's would open in San Bernardino. While military advancements in food processing and preservation led to the MRE they also aided fast food. The automat and drive-in diners altered the customer's dining experienced, whtere the underlining motivation was convenience, standardization, accessibility, affordability, and at one point quality. Fast food went from a novelty to an everyday.
Having fully integrated into this American life, there is a constant pressure for fast food companies to stay relevant. With so much competition, new products increase interest. Such as the ever-evolving pizza crust going simply from thick or thing to being made of pretzel dough, having string cheese and hot dogs shoved in it. Hot Dog Pizza? This amalgamation of fast foods from hot dogs to hamburgers has found its way not only into the pizza, but croissants, doughnuts, and bagels. The bourgeois Cronut and Ramen burger are innovative investigations in dynamic food combinations. Who would have thought a soups noodle would make a nice hamburger bun? Or rather that chips would make a unique taco shell thereby uniting the two superpower brands of Taco Bell and Doritos. Then there is the business practice of obscurity, whereby only offering an item for a limited amount of time helped McDonald's establish its cult-like following for the McRib. But it doesn't stop there, you have chicken nuggetts in everyshape known to mankind stars, rings, strips, and bits. The nearly 100 year old White Castle prides itself on its suitcase full of burgers. Then there's Jack In The Boxe's 45 patties burger with grill cheese for its buns, followed by the substitution of chicken patties for bread as in KFCs Double down with a whooping grand total of 2261 calories (close if not your recomended daily total). The Double Down is constructed from two fried chicken patties and filled with cheese and bacon thereby waiting to clog your heart.
On a positive note, thanks to technology incidents like the filming of the pink slime and published ingredients as well as calories are informing the customer. If only the money spent on advertising and inginuity were redirected to providing healthier options and decent pay/benefits for employees.
100 Objects of Popular and Material Culture is an blog exploring the manifestations of human consumption and commodity-ization. The purpose of this experiment is to explore material and popular culture in contemporary society by using objects and concepts to prompt wider questions and reflections. So by emulating The British Museum's and Neil MacGregor's format of A History of the World in 100 Objects I plan to satirically analyze and reinterpreted 100 material culture objects over the course of 2014. Material Culture is the study of our culture's consumption of stuff; namely the manifestation of culture through material productions where people's perceptions of objects is socially and culturally dependent. With this, objects reflect conscious and unconscious beliefs on the the individuals who fabricated, purchased, or used them, and by extension the society where they live. So examining materiality, cultural truths and societal assumptions may be discovered. As anthropologist Arjun Appaduai states "in any society the individual is often caught between the cultural structure of commodity-ization and his own personal attempts to bring a value and order to the universe of things." Objects and commodities make up a much larger symbolic system consisting of want and need, socio-economic status, fashion, etc. Often times form follows function whether the commodity, market, and or consumer forever evolve around one-another. Philosopher Pierre Bourdieu's theories of capital flow full circle; where regardless if you are a minimalist or a hoarder the world is made up of things and everyone will leave their footprint on the earth. So by humorously analyzing marketed objects and concepts, hopefully this blog will provide further incite into ideas of over-consumption, a disposable society, consumerism vs. anti-consumers, planned obsolescence vs. sustainability, as well as the greater good of mankind and future generations.