Put on your napkin bib, because Gallup just released results from a poll about fast food in America. The poll reveals 76 percent of Americans admit fast food is bad for them — and yet almost half of Americans (47 percent) eat fast food at least once a week. Nothing like a guilty pleasure, eh? According to Gallup:
Eight in 10 Americans report eating at fast-food restaurants at least monthly, with almost half saying they eat fast food at least weekly. Only 4% say they never eat at fast-food restaurants.
Either that 4 percent is lying, or they’re gonna live forever.
Since 2006, the last time this poll was taken, the total percentage of Americans eating fast food at least once or twice a month has only gone down 1 percent (from 81 percent to 80 percent) — but fewer people are hitting the drive-thru one or more times a week. Some of the people who used to make weekly Taco Bell runs (ha) must have shifted to monthly. That’s good … right?
But in the past decade, the percent of Americans saying fast food is bad for you has stayed exactly the same. Hasn’t awareness, like, RISEN? Or are people’s perceptions of “fast food” just changing from “slimy, greasy shoelaces” to “wholesome bounty of Chipotle”? (Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.) Nice job, McDonald’s billboards of iceberg lettuce salads. Don’t fire your marketing people just yet.
The demographic stats are where the Gallup poll really gets interesting. Young people (duh), men, blacks, and Latinos are most likely to eat fast food. But despite the general perception that McDonald’s et al. are targeting a low-income crowd, poor people are much less likely to grab a burger. In fact, the richer you are, the more you eat fast food. More than HALF of people earning $75,000 annually or more grab a bite at least weekly — but only 39 percent of peeps earning under $20,000 do.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some french fries to dip in my milkshake. (Not a metaphor.)
Fast Food Still Major Part of U.S. Diet, Gallup.
Get Grist in your inbox