You know that junk food that has little to zero nutritional value and that you secretly love eating? You know how you usually combine it with drinks that are bad for you, and that the combination is high in calories when consumed in excess, which we end up doing? How often is sometimes for you? Once a week? Cheat-weekends only?
Most things that are served at fast food restaurants qualify as junk food. So that means fries, greasy burgers, hot dogs, ice cream, chips, candy, cookies, and cake; basically all the things we crave for.
According to BBC Good Food Nation Survey, in 2016 one in six young people aged between 16 to 20 in the UK eat fast food twice a day. The same survey found that most people ate fast food on average two days per week. On the other side of the North Sea, the Netherlands prides itself for a healthy population.
Junk food is popular because it is convenient, cheap, addictive and it becomes a habit quite easily. Anyone who visits a fast food restaurant can order a burger off a euro menu. For under ten euros, you can get a full meal. That is the reason why junk food is so popular among low-income groups. For as long as an instant Cup-A-Soup will cost less than an orange or a banana, the hungry and the poor will aim for the cheaper alternative.
The other drive behind this popularity is the fact that it is convenient. Almost everywhere, vending machines or kiosks offer a wider variety of junk food than healthy food. And as the name indicates: You can order a fast food meal and then eat it in less than five minutes later. You can even order it online while driving to the fast food chain and pick it up with no waiting time. Exactly what the fast society was missing.
Do the Dutch however eat these varieties of junk food every day? Our sample is quite small and it is far away from being representative to answer this question. That means that nominal values of consumption in the figure below are only useful when compared to one another.
What is remarkable from the figure above is the weekend peeks. During weekends the consumption of junk food is approximately five times higher than on Monday or Tuesday. As people go out more often in the weekend, their preference for burgers and hot-dogs increases. Convenience of the food might be the right explanation for it.
What goes better with a burger than a cola? The consumption of cola-like drinks (Coca-Cola or Pepsi) also follows a weekly fluctuation. There are seven times more cola consumed in the weekend as when compared to Mondays or Tuesdays. In other words, every burger lover orders two colas to wash the burger down in the weekends.
The same movement we see in the other popular soft-drink of Fanta. Different from Cola, Fanta lovers consume the soft-drink more and its weekend peaks are less higher on relative terms.
Read the full report here.