In today’s society multitasking is no longer optional—leaving working professionals exhausted and more often than not, not in the mood to cook (no judgement here). The desire for a quick and easy meal has now become mainstream. And as this convenience culture grows, the popularity of fast food shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.
Offering cheap and quick meals, major fast food chains like McDonalds, Wendy’s and Taco Bell have gained a cult following. In fact, according to Partners For Your Health, 80% of Americans eat fast food at least once a month, with 20% doing so every week. And globally the industry is expected to reach a net worth of $223 billion by 2020.
Fast food has integrated itself so far into mainstream society that it’s become a necessity for those too busy to cook. So how far does this national love affair go? To find out, we surveyed over 1,000 people to see what they would be willing to give up to binge on fast food all they want, with no consequences.
You heard that right. No negative health effects, no weight gain, nothing. Fast food wouldn’t cause any issues to your health at all. In fact, you could eat as much of it as you want. What would you give up for that kind of freedom?
Americans Ditch Binge-Watching For Binge-Eating.
Americans’ love of fast food is so strong that they would do just about anything to eat it without negative effects on their health. In fact, those who want to snack to their heart's content are most likely to give up alcohol, Netflix and naps.
While most can’t fathom the idea of settling into the couch without binging something on Netflix, 27% would gladly cancel their subscriptions for a life of fast food binging. 37% would become sober and 13% would never nap again for those same perks. Just imagine. A burger without a nap.
Those are pretty big things to give up just to eat fries for days, but it’s not surprising when you consider that 36% of Americans eat fast food every single day. And it turns out, the idea of consequence-free fast food is so alluring that people will even give up basic hygiene to get it.
Who Needs Underwear Anyways?
Brushing your teeth and changing your underwear several times a day are standard habits we all learn as children, so why would you stop as an adult? It turns out, consumers will gladly throw hygiene out the window when presented with this delicious dilemma. The most guilty grouping is 35–44 year olds, as 21% would throw out their underwear and 10% would never brush their teeth again. Younger generations have different priorities, however, as 0% of 18–24 year olds (slow clap, kids) would toss their toothbrush but...21% would still ditch their drawers.
While consequence free burgers and fries might mean you don’t have to worry about cavities, smelly breath is an entirely different issue. You could Postmate some mints on a daily basis, but we aren’t sure what those 12% willing to go commando are going to do instead.
Never Met A Stranger—With Free Food—That I Didn’t Like.
Outside of what they would be willing to give up, we wanted more insight into consumers’ love of convenience. And even though fast food drive through lanes got an average of 20 seconds slower this year, online delivery services (read: us) have helped to bridge that gap and get consumers what they want even faster.
To see just how important convenience is, we asked consumers if they would accept free food from a stranger. 11% would ignore their mother’s warnings about not talking to strangers and except the food anyways. Surprisingly, 18–24 year olds were the most willing to accept free food from someone they don’t know, bumping up that number to a little over 17%.
While we can’t magically wave a wand and make this fast food forever dream a reality, the idea that so many people are willing to give up basic entertainment and hygiene speaks to just how powerful fast food is in our current culture. And while it’s important to toss a salad into your Postmates rotation every now and then, there’s no harm in indulging every once and a while. So go ahead and order your favorite takeout food and pull up Netflix while you wait for it’s arrival, no one is making you choose. Yet.