Quality of Food from Fast Food Franchises
Consumers in South Africa have become increasingly aware about the food they eat from fast food franchises. The fact that there was a listeriosis outbreak earlier this year and all the scares regarding the preparation and cooking process last year has taken its toll on South African fast food franchises. Consumers are prioritizing the hygiene of their food rather than the taste.
All this negative publicity has resulted in the healthier restaurants having a competitive advantage. However, fast food franchises are working on improving the quality of their food to ensure they offer healthier and quality food. Consumers are questioning whether or not fast food is really worth the convenience as their health is at stake.
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According to (Garfield, 2018), the fast food industry in South Africa is facing pressure from the healthier food options. Over the past couple of years many consumers have shown an increasing interest in the healthier options. Although companies such as McDonald’s have removed antibiotics from its chicken and increased the amount of salad options to its menu, consumers are questioning the quality of the food they purchase. There is a constant pressure to add healthy options to the menus of fast food franchises as there is competition between the quality of fast food and the quality of healthy food.
Moreover, the majority of consumers living in the Johannesburg CBD are categorised within the lower income earners resulting in a lot of poverty throughout the city amongst a few higher income areas. According to (Business Tech, 2017), the lower income earners within the Johannesburg CBD spend money on fast food franchises less than once a month. Throughout a year they will spend around R10 to R70. Therefore, fast food franchises within the CBD do not earn their profits from the many South Africans living in the area but rather the citizens who travel to the CBD daily for work.
Furthermore, the outbreak of listeriosis impacted the fast food industry drastically. Panic had spread throughout the country which, again, led to the question about the quality of food consumed. Fast food franchises attempted to ease consumers about the ingredients used in their products during this outbreak. Despite the conditions, Debonairs continued to sell processed cocktail sausages even though they had been identified as a high risk product. Fast food franchises were under huge amounts of pressure as not only had the quality of their food been questioned with regards to healthy food but now under the conditions of listeriosis too.
The advantages of fast food is the fact that it is convenient for workers in the CBD as it is close to work for all meals of the day. Fast food is cheaper and although fast food is not healthy at all there are some alternatives on the menu that are slightly healthier than the rest of the products offered. There are very few advantages to fast food which encourages consumers to think twice before purchasing fast food.
Moreover, the disadvantages to fast food are that fast food is produced in bulk which lowers the quality of food. Fast food is not nutritional and adds no value to improving your health. They add to your calories and are full of sodium. They consist of dangerous ingredients especially processed ingredients. Fast food is very damaging to your health and poses a huge threat on consumers who are poverty stricken in the CBD. They are extremely pricey despite what consumers think and consumers are seen as “fat” when consuming fast food.
However, there are many advantages to healthy food such as the fact that they do not consist of processed ingredients are nutrient-rich and improve your health overall. Although the healthier option can result in higher price, at the end of the day the consumer’s health is at risk when consuming fast food. The price of healthy food would be the only disadvantage. With consumers eating healthy food in the CBD, the overall health of the consumers will improve resulting in many positive outcomes especially the spread of disease which would decrease as consumers would have a healthier lifestyle. Consumers who are healthier are seen as “fit”.
Although the vast amount of consumers would not be able to afford healthier food in the CBD but the consumers who visit and work in the CBD could possibly do so. The fast food industry is definitely facing pressure as consumers question the quality of their food and are opting for healthier food. Therefore, one of the key aspects which make fast foods successful is the cheap production costs; this will soon change as consumers want to eat healthier and are pushing for these franchises to ensure their products are healthy.
This will result in higher production costs and by the time fast food franchises have managed to add healthy food that is free from processed ingredients, at an affordable price to their menu will be too late. By this time, franchises who have sold healthy food from the get go will already have the skill under their belt.
Consumers continue to question the quality of food from fast food franchises. Business who sell healthy food pose a threat to the fast food industry as there are far more positive effects of eating healthy especially with regards to improving the lifestyle and health of the locals in the CBD.