Grazing In
Peckham
[ Summary | Introduction | Nutritional Context | Methods ]

[ Results | Concerning Those Eating Fast Food Everyday ]



SUMMARY

This survey aimed to identify the people using fast food outlets in a low income area where the incidence of diet-related diseases was fairly high, and to establish the frequency with which these people were using the outlets.

The survey took the form of a structured interview, being carried out in Peckham outside four fast food outlets, interviewing consumers as they left the stores.

The majority of the population interviewed was between the ages of 20-34 years old.2/3rds were employed and over half of those interviewed were on a low income of <100/week.

The results show that those using these outlets consume much greater quantities than the national averages suggest, due to the masking effect caused by those who use the outlets very little.

87% of fast food eaters claimed to eat fast food at least once a week, with 31% of fast food eaters saying that they ate fast foods every day.

The main implications resulting from the findings of this survey are that due to the high frequency of use, the outlets must be serving a need for those surveyed. The potential is there to help improve the population's health, rather than jeopardizing it by providing unhealthy meals in an area where health is at a premium.

The provision and consumption of healthier meals is not just a question of consumer choice but is also the responsibility of the food manufacturers. Manufacturers should be urged to review their policies concerning nutrition and the quality of their products.

Local planning authorities also need to review the type of new businesses being opened in the area, and in this example of Peckham, Southwark Council could play a role in encouraging other outlets such as pizza, baked potato or sandwich into the area.

Health education also needs to be increased so that the public can understand what is being offered to them. For customers to make informed choices, fast food needs to be labelled with at least as much information as is found on the food in retail shops.


INTRODUCTION

'Fast Food' is a self-explanatory term given to food which is more or less instantly available to the customer, and may or may not, be in the form of a take-away meal or snack.

Fast food now covers most areas of the commercial food market, ranging from American-style hamburger and pizza chains through Chinese and Indian take-aways, to the traditional British fish and chip shops. The past few years have also seen the emergence of baked potato outlets, and the introduction of croissant bars.

Although the type of food sold in these outlets may vary widely, the characteristics of outlet operation are similar across the board. The most important characteristic is obviously that of providing fast service, requiring no prior indication of custom.

Consequently the menu is generally limited and concentrates on one type of food, e.g.hamburgers, chicken or pizza. To increase the speed of meal production, table service has been replaced to a certain extent by counter service, although table service is still preferred in Wimpy and most of the pizza chains.

Fish and chip shops have been operating in Britain for over 100 years, with Chinese, Indian, Greek and Turkish growing up over several decades since the war. However the most rapid expansion has been in the American-style outlets, hamburgers especially, but also pizzas and chicken, since their introduction in the 1960s and 70s. Wimpy, the British owned hamburger chain, started operations in 1955 but did not introduce a take-away facility until 1978. Kentucky came to Britain from America in 1965 and was the first to offer an alternative hot take-away food to the long established fish and chips. Pizzas also started to filter into the market in the 1960s but have not really made any impact until recently. The American hamburger outlets came to Britain in the 1970s having already rooted themselves firmly in the States.

National Figures

16% of British adults buy take-away food every week increasing to over 40% in the 16-17year old age group,(1). In the last year 36% of British adults have used McDonalds; 32% Wimpy and 23% Kentucky,(1).

Eating outlets are often associated with certain groups of people and fast food is mainly associated with the young. Popularity decreases as age and social class increase.

A survey by BMRB/Mintel in 1985 showed that fast food was eaten most often by 15-24 year olds in the social groups DE. 37% of those in the social groups, DE, had 'recently' eaten in a fast food outlet, compared to 15% in social groups ABC1. Twice as many were 15-24 years old as were 45-64. Hence they concluded that fast food was 'youth orientated and down market',(2).

HOTAG (Hot Take Away Group) found that 43% of 15-24 year olds, 54% of the unemployed and 36% of students ate fast food more than twice a week,(3).

Take-away sales account for 2/3rds of fast food's total turnover but this proportion differs by outlet,(4). In fish and chips, take-away is still dominating sales at 83%, although eat-in has increasd since tax was imposed on hot take-away food in 1984. Conversely only 37% of sales in hamburger bars come from take-away food and these outlets have the largest eat-in sales,(5). The Consumer Catering Report in 1986 reported "take-away food is for the young and less affluent because they can't afford restaurants and may lack cooking facilities."(6)

Fast food is eaten most often when the consumer is shopping or travelling,(7). About 2/5th of burger sales occur during shopping trips and 17% of all fast food is sold during work breaks,(8).

Estimates of average expenditure differ. One report says that it is over 3,(7) and another finding that over 50% of consumers spent less than 1.50,(3). Consumers who use outlets frequently spend less on a meal, and although the higher social groups eat fast food less often, their proportion of the expenditure is higher,(5).


Nutritional Context

FATS

During the last couple of years NACNE and COMA have shown that coronary heart disease is related to fat intake and that a reduction in total dietary fat, particularly saturated fat, amongst the population is likely to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease,(9)(10).

It is the high levels of saturated fatty acids and low levels of some 'essential' polyunsaturated fatty acids in the diet which are thought to be connected with high levels of heart disease. An adjustment in fatty acid proportions is also thought to be benefical, i.e. a decrease in saturated fatty acids and an increase in 'essential' polyunsaturated fatty acids. Current recommendations for people in the U.K. are that not more than 35% of the energy in the diet should be provided by fat, and not more than 15% from saturated fatty acids,(10). The following table illustrates the relatively high levels of fats and saturated fatty acids in fast food.

Product Total fat (g) energy (kcal) %kcal from fat %kcal from sat. fat
Wimpy Halfpounder 54.0 830 59 29
Wimpy Quarterpounder+cheese 33.4 585 51 23
McDonalds Filet-of-fish 25.7 414 56 16
McDonalds Big Mac 27.9 554 45 16
McDonalds Regular French Fries 15.9 290 49 25
Burger King Chicken Sandwich 40.0 688 52 10
Kentucky Piece of Chicken 11.3 174 58 --
Kentucky Chicken Sandwich 16.0 386 37 --
Cod fried in batter(6oz.) 17.0 -- -- --
Pizzaland's Cheese&Tomato Pizza 21.0 692 27 --
Spud-U-Like Baked Potato+S/Corn 0.5 370 1 --
Source: Company Data

Chicken products tend to be lower in saturated fatty acids, but the percentage of energy from total fat is not that different from other foods. Indian food can be particularly high in fat because large quantites of oil are often used in its preparation. The amount of saturated fatty acids will depend on exactly which oil is used.

SALT

There has been much discussion about the effects of salt on our health, most of which centres around the link with high blood pressure, which itself is a risk factor of coronary heart disease. High intakes of salt amongst populations are thought to be connected with increases in blood pressure, particularly in susceptible individuals.

No recommended intake for salt has been proposed in the U.K. because there is a need for further evidence of its effects on the body. However the present average intake is estimated as being over 10g/head/day which is well in excess of the body's requirements, and so recommendations have been made, for example by NACNE, to reduce the intake by 1g/head/day short-term, and by 3g/head/day in the long-term(9). One of the ways in which individuals can reduce their salt intake is by reducing the amount used in cooking, and so for those eating fast food, this is not possible.

The following table shows fast food products found to be relatively high in salt. This is before the addition of discretionary salt by the consumer.

Product Salt (g)
Wimpy Halfpounder 5.1
Wimpy Beanburger+cheese 2.7
McDonalds Quarterpounder + cheese 2.7
McDonalds Big Mac 2.4
McDonalds French Fries 0.7
Burger King Chicken Sandwich 3.6
Burger King Whopper + cheese 2.9
Kentucky Piece of Chicken 1.2
5g salt = approx. 1 teaspoon.
Source: Company Data

SUGAR

The incidence of dental caries in Peckham's children is very high. Although there is still some controversy in this area, the link between sugar and dental caries is well-established (in that the enamel is destroyed by acid produced by bacteria fermenting the carbohydrates).

As well as the amount of sugar consumed being a factor, its form and frequency is thought to be of much greater importance. Sugar eaten between meals is more cariogenic than sugar incorporated into a meal.

Regardless of snacks or meals though, fast foods contain large amounts of sugar and not always where it's expected? For example a McDonald's Hamburger Bun contains 13% sugar.

Below are listed foods in which sugar appears unexpectedly:-

Product
McDonalds French Fries Dextrose
McDonalds Fish Breading Dextrose
McDonalds Pork Sausage Dextrose
Burger King Bun Sucrose
Burger King French Fries Dextrose
Burger King Sausage and Bacon Dextrose and Sucrose
Kentucky Beans Sucrose
Kentucky Coleslaw Sucrose (2nd highest ingredient)
Wimpy Bun Sucrose
Hot Dog (Bun, sausage, ketchup and mustard sauce) Sucrose in each
Source: Company Data

Overweight

Not only is sugar a major factor in dental caries, but is thought by some to be a contributory factor to becoming overweight and obese. The number of overweight people in Britain is increasing, with over 30% of all adults falling into the 'overweight' category and between 5-10% being obese. Also overweight children are more likely to become obese adults,(9). Fat is the most energy dense food, providing 9kcal/g fat, and therefore fat intake determines a large amount of the energy intake. Obese individuals are slightly more at risk of dying from heart disease, which is in line with the fact that hypertension often accompanies obesity as well, so one can conclude that all these diseases and dietary risk factors are interlinked.

FIBRE

One of the other major recommendations made by NACNE was that fibre intakes should be increased. This is due to the role fibre plays in preventing the development of bowel disoreders, such as constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. The recommendation is that intakes should be increased slowly to an average of 30g/day for adults, and to 23g/day in the short term. The average intake, at present, is 20g/day(9).

In general fast food is low in fibre, as the upper half of the table shows. However some products, such as baked potatoes, contain adequate amounts of fibre, suitable for one meal.

Product Fibre (g)
Kentucky 2 pieces of Chicken & Chips 1.1
Wimpy Hamburger 1.8
Wimpy Chicken in a Bun 2.0
Pizzaland's Cheese & Tomato Pizza 5.0
McDonalds Hamburger 7.2
McDonalds Regular French Fries 12.7
Spud-U-Like Baked Potato + Sweetcorn 13.7
Spud-U-Like Baked Potato + Baled Beans 15.9
McDonalds BigMac 15.9
Wimpy's Beanburger + cheese 16.0
Source: Company Data

OTHER NUTRIENTS

A study by Crawford and Doyle has shown that the occurence of low birthweight babies may be due, in part, to the amount of fast food consumed(11).

By looking, in detail, at the diets of pregnant women, it appeared that those women who consequently gave birth to low birthweight babies(<2500g) were eating greater amounts of fast food and less fresh vegetables and fish, than those whose babies weighed over 2500g(11). As well as their diets being lower in vitamins and minerals, they were also found to be consuming significantly lower levels of essential fatty acids, re-emphasising the point made earlier about the proportions of fatty acids in many fast foods.

Another study showed that schoolgirls who regularly had lunch in 'cafes, fish and chip shops or take-away outlets' were gettimg over 40% of their calories from fat and were not getting the recommended amounts of vitamins A, B2 or D, iron or calcium(12).

Therefore as well as being low in fibre, fast food is also low in vitamins and minerals. This is mainly due to the lack of fruit and vegetables in the limited menus, although salads are becoming more popular in pizza houses, for instance.

The following table shows the recommended amounts of four nutrients to be obtained from 100kcal, and compared to the amounts obtained from every 100kcal of some typical fast food meals.

Iron (mg) Calcium (mg) Vitamin C (mg) Vitamin A (ug)
Female 16-19 years old 0.52 26.0 1.3 32.5
Male 20-34 years old 0.34 17.2 1.0 25.9
Pregnant woman 0.54 50.0 2.5 31.3
-
McDonalds Chicken nuggets, Coke and French fries 0.26 5.4 0.7 ----
McDonalds Hamburger, fries and Coke 0.28 11.9 0.7 1.3
Wimpy fish & chips and Coffee 0.50 35.0 1.0 2.3
Wimpy Halfpounder & Apple Pie 0.32 21.2 0.2 6.3
Kentucky Chicken Piece & Fries 0.16 7.6 0.7 ----
Kentucky Chicken Sandwich & Coleslaw 0.03 5.8 3.8 ----
Source: Company Data, Davidson & Passmore(13)

These figures support the findings of the two studies outlined above, showing that the amounts of nutrients in these fast foods fall well below the recommended. One pregnant woman interviewed in our study said that she was eating fast food twice a day, hamburgers at lunchtime and chinese in the evenings.

Choosing Southwark

The area chosen for the study was Peckham in Southwark, an inner city borough of South-east London.

Peckham covers 4-5 of the wards within Southwark, and makes up about 1/5th of Southwark's total population.

Within the Peckham area the problems of multiple deprivation are the most severe, showing the highest concentration of financial problems, this being inextricably linked to the Peckham constituency having the highest rate of unemployment(30-35%) in the London Borough of Southwark. Up to 85% of the households in Peckham have a gross income of less than 10,400, with 20% receiving less than 2,600 gross in a year,(14).

Over 60% of the housing is rented, with 2-5% of households being without the exclusive use of a kitchen.

Educationally the area's school leavers are amongst the lowest achievers in London.

With regard to health, the highest death rate comes from coronary heart disease which, as shown before, is related to a high dietary fat intake, particularly saturated fat. Coronary heart disease accounts for 24% of male deaths and 19% of female deaths, for all ages. A high salt intake has been linked to the incidence of high blood pressure which is also a risk factor for coronary heart disease. Raised blood pressure is also a contributory factor for circulatory diseases which the middle-aged are most prone to,as well as cancers, while circulatory and respiratory diseases together are the biggest killers of the elderly.

The mortality rate in children is low by national standards, but there is a high rate of low birthweight babies(below 2500g), the Peckham area having the highest rate in Southwark at 9.4%. As discussed before (11), the incidence of low birthweight babies appears to be related to ante-natal nutrition.

As mentioned earlier dental health is worst for children in North Southwark, which includes the Peckham area, and as fast food frequently contains sugar, even where it may not be expected, the link between the incidence of dental caries and sugar intake cannot be overlooked.

Peckham also presented itself as a suitable site for the survey when it was found to contain a range of fast food outlets within a fairly localized area. Along the two main streets of Rye Lane and High Street, were a range of the main fast food chains and several other independent outlets, with the exceptions of pizza, and baked potato. It was therefore felt that the consumer had a wide enough choice to be able to choose between them, rather than a single outlet simply being the only one available.

METHODS

The principal question to be examined in this report is whether the 'national average' figures for consumption of fast foods maybe a distribution consisting of two polarised groups: frequent fast food eaters and rare fast food eaters. Claims that the contribution of fast food to the dietary intake are only marginal because the average consumption is low may look rather weak if it is found that consumption is high among certain groups.

As shown already, younger people and those unemployed tend to use fast food outlets at above average rates. If it were the case, that a significant proportion of fast food eaters consume large amounts of fast food, then there is some cause for concern about the quality of the food and the impact this has on their overall diet and health.

This survey was principally concerned with examining whether such a significant proportion was likely to be found in an area known to have poor health characteristics related to dietary factors.

When faced with a survey involving the collection of data from the public, there are two main options available, the interview and the questionnaire. Both have advantages and disadvantages, and the suitability of one over the other is unique to the survey being carried out.

For this survey it was felt that a structured interview would be the most appropriate method. The limitation on time meant that a high response rate was essential for enough results to be collected and this can only be guaranteed by using the interview technique. Comprehension of the questions is sometimes a problem, and so if an interview is being used the interviewer can help explain the meaning of the questions. However the main disadvantage of using the interview is that bias can occur, mostly unintentionally ,in the way the questions are being asked, especially when asking respondents for their opinions, as in part of this survey. However this should be overcome to a certain extent by practise and question design.

This is a descriptive survey, i.e. one in which the population's attributes are being estimated, rather than an explanatory one in which a cause and effect relationship is being investigated. So for this type of survey representativeness is crucial in order for any conclusions about the whole population to be drawn from the results(15).

Interviewing was carried out during lunchtime and tea-time. Evening interviews were not undertaken for reasons of safety. Therefore the population was not wholly representative of fast food consumers. Also for practical reasons, interviewing did not occur at the week-ends and so the sample is again biased. However conclusions can be drawn from the sample collected as it stands, but by taking into consideration the limitations experienced.

Choosing the Questions and the Pilot Study

The selection of questions for the questionnaire has to be preceded by establishing what is required from the questionnaire and the points of most interest and importance to be derived from the subsequent answers.

The questionnaire was piloted in Angel, Islington. From these surveys and the experiences encountered during the interviews, a few minor changes were made to the questionnaire layout until it was finalised ready for the main survey.

The questionnaire schedule is shown in Appendix (i).

It was also necessary for the sample population to be situated away from the main survey population in Peckham, so that the same people were not interviewed twice, hence avoiding a learning bias. Respondents were selected randomly as they emerged from the fast food outlet and asked if they would participate in the survey. Responses were obtained as follows:-

Lunchtime Afternoon
McDonalds 80 21
Wimpy 50 24
Kentucky 81 22
Fish and chips 58 18

RESULTS

Sample Description

* Over 50% of those interviewed were 20-34years old - 26% being younger and 20% older.

Age of Consumer Frequency Percentage
<11 12 3.4
11-15 18 5.1
16-19 63 17.8
20-34 193 54.5
35-60 62 17.5
>60 6 1.7
Total 354 100.0

* Over 50% of the sample had incomes of <100/week, and 85% had incomes of <200/week, which is comparable with the figure quoted for the whole population in this area-'only 16% of households have more than 10,399 per annum'(14).

Income of Consumer Frequency Percentage
<100/week 177 52.7
100-200/week 111 33.0
>200/week 48 14.3
Total 336 100.0
Missing cases - 18

* 62% of this sample were employed, with 13% unemployed, this being lower than the figures quoted for the whole population of the area-Liddle ward,one of the wards within the Peckham area, has 35% of its economically active population unemployed(14).

Occupation of Consumer Frequency Percentage
Employed 220 62.1
Unemployed 46 13.0
Housewife 33 9.3
Pensionner 9 2.5
Schoolchild 28 7.9
Student 18 5.1
Total 354 100.0

* 56% of the sample interviewed were female, and 44% male.

Sex of Consumer Frequency Percentage
Male 155 43.8
Female 199 56.2
Total 354 100.0

Eating Habits

* 87% of those eating at fast food outlets, said that they ate fast food at least once a week, with 31% of the sample using fast food outlets every day, on one or more occasion.

* Therefore only 13% of those interviewed ate fast food less than once a week.

Frequency of Using Fast Food Outlets
Location of Interview: 1/day >1-<5/week 1/week >1/week
Kentucky 36.0 48.5 3.0 12.5
McDonalds 32.7 49.5 7.0 10.8
Wimpy 18.9 52.7 10.8 17.6
Fish & Chips 34.2 44.7 6.6 14.5
Total 30.5 48.9 6.9 13.9

* The overall average number of meals or snacks eaten at fast food outlets each week by this sample population was a little over 4, meals accounting for 2/3rds of these occasions, and snacks 1/3rd.

Average Number of Eating Occasions /week
Total Meals Snacks
Kentucky 4.80 3.16 1.64
McDonalds 4.21 2.99 1.23
Wimpy 3.33 2.36 0.98
Fish & Chips 4.15 2.55 1.63
Average 4.12 2.77 1.37

* Of those who ate fast food at least once a day, 46% were on low incomes, earning <100/week, but this was lower than the overall proportion of those on low income in this sample.

Income of Consumer % of consumers
1/day overall
<100 46.4 52.7
100-200 31.8 33.0
>200 12.7 14.3

* The proportions of males to females reversed in those whose used the outlets every day.

Sex of Consumer % of consumers
1/day overall
Male 55.5 43.8
Female 44.5 56.2

* The rating of 'general' food decreased in those interviewed who ate fast food every day.

Rating of Food General Food Outlet Food
1/day overall 1/day overall
Good 23.6 37.6 16.3 20.1
Average 43.6 41.7 40.9 39.9
Poor 30.9 20.7 41.8 39.9

* 'Convenience' was the most popular reason given for using the outlet, with only 8% giving 'fast' as their reason, the majority of these being employed. Less than 1% chose the outlet because it was cheap. The younger children chose the outlet because they 'like the taste'.

Choice of Consumers Frequency Percentage
Fast 32 9.1
Convenient 139 39.4
Good quality 3 0.8

* The time of the interview did not appear to affect the reasons given for using the outlet.

Reason given for Using Outlet by Time of Interview
Missing cases: 1
Lunchtime Afternoon
Convenient 38.8 41.7
Good quality 0.7 1.2
Like the taste 26.5 15.4
Cheap 1.1 0.0
Dislike cooking 0.7 0.0
For the children 2.6 2.4
Hungry 11.2 14.3
Other 8.7 17.9

* Those who earned a higher salary were found to be using McDonalds more than the other outlets.

Income by name of outlet
Missing cases: 18
<100/week 100-200/week >200/week
Kentucky 47.6 38.8 10.7
McDonalds 37.6 28.7 20.8
Wimpy 59.5 25.7 13.5
Fish&Chips 59.2 30.3 7.9

* 27% of those interviewed stated that the food being consumed at the time of interview, was their main meal of the day.

Main Meal of the Day Frequency Percentage Cumulative Percentage
Yes 94 26.6 26.6
No 242 68.4 95.0
- 18 5.0 100.0
Total 354 100.0

Expenditure

* Average expenditure was around 1.50 per person, ranging from <50p to >4.

Expenditure of Consumers Frequency Percentage
0-49p 36 10.5
50-99p 43 12.5
1-1.49 73 21.3
1.50-1.99 105 30.6
2-2.49 58 16.9
2.50-2.99 15 4.4
3-3.49 8 2.3
3.50-3.99 3 0.9
4+ 2 0.6
Total 343 100.0
Missing cases: 11

* Expenditure increased with age, except in those over 60years old, whose expenditure was much lower, below 1. Expenditure was generally lower in the fish and chip shops, but unrelated to income.

Age of Consumer by Amount Spent on Food
<11 11-15 16-19 20-34 35-60 >60 years
0-49p 0 4 8 15 7 2
50-99p 1 4 7 22 3 4
1-1.49 6 7 12 41 7 0
1.50-1.99 4 1 17 60 22 1
2-2.49 0 2 10 37 9 0
2.50-2.99 0 0 2 7 6 0
3-3.49 0 0 3 4 1 0
3.50-3.99 0 0 1 0 2 0
4+ 0 0 0 2 0 0
Missing cases: 11

Name of Outlet by Amount Spent on Food
Fish&chips Kentucky McDonalds Wimpy
0-49p 20 5 6 5
50-99p 11 9 14 9
1-1.49 17 25 16 15
1.50-1.99 18 31 31 24
2-2.49 4 25 21 8
2.50-2.99 2 1 3 9
3-3.49 0 4 2 2
3.50-3.99 0 1 2 0
4+ 0 1 0 1
Missing cases: 11

Perceptions of Health

* Only 20% of the consumers interviewed rated the food bought at the outlet as 'good', in terms of health, with 40% rating it as 'poor'. When asked to rate their own food, the proportions reversed, with nearly 40% rating their general food as 'good'.

Rating of Food Bought at Outlet and General Food Eaten
Frequency Percentage
Good 70 131 20.1 37.6
Average 139 145 39.9 41.7
Poor 139 72 39.9 20.7
Total 354 354
Missing cases: 6
Normal print=food bought at outlet Bold=general food eaten

* There was no correlation between the type of food eaten on that occasion and the consumer's rating of that food.

* When the respondents were asked 'if the food manufacturer told you that the food you've just bought is good for you, would you believe them?', only 20% replied that they would.

Belief of Manufacturer by Rating of Food Bought at Outlet
Good Average Poor
Yes 26 20 7
No 39 116 127
Missing cases: 19


TABLES CONCERNING THOSE EATING FAST FOOD EVERY DAY

Taking the subsample of those who claimed to eat fast food every day, the following characteristics were found, and compared to the overall sample.

Name of Outlet % of consumers
Kentucky 36
Wimpy 19
McDonalds 32
Fish & chips 34

Age of Consumer % of consumers
1/day overall
<11 1.8 3.4
11-15 5.5 5.1
16-19 22.7 17.8
20-34 62.7 54.5
35-60 6.4 17.5
>60 0.9 1.7

Occupation of Consumer % of consumers
1/day overall
employed 68.3 62.1
unemployed 15.3 13.0
student 5.5 5.1
schoolchild 6.4 7.9
housewife 4.5 9.3
pensionner 0.0 2.5

Belief of Manufacturer % of consumers
1/day overall
Yes 22.0 15.8
No 76.0 80.5

Crosstabulation Tables

Income by Occupation
<100/week 100-200/week >200/week Missing cases Total %
employed 30.4 46.8 21.8 1.0 100.0
unemployed 82.6 2.2 0.0 15.2 100.0
housewife 69.7 18.2 0.0 12.1 100.0
pensionner 100.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 100.0
student 83.3 5.5 0.0 11.2 100.0
schoolchild 89.3 0.0 0.0 10.7 100.0

Income by Amount Spent on Food
<100/week 100-200/week >200/week
0-49p 10.7 10.8 10.4
50-99p 14.7 9.0 10.4
1-1.49 22.0 23.4 10.4
1.50-1.99 30.0 28.8 27.1
2-2.49 13.6 17.1 25.0
2.50-2.99 3.4 4.5 6.3
3-3.49 1.7 3.6 2.1
3.50-3.99 0.0 0.0 2.1
4+ 0.6 0.0 2.1
Missing cases 3.3 5.8 4.1
% TOTAL 100.0 100.0 100.0

Income by Rating of General Food Eaten
<100/week 100-200/week >200/week
Good 35.0 43.2 31.2
Average 42.9 39.6 33.3
Poor 20.3 16.2 33.3
Missing cases 1.8 1.0 2.2
% TOTAL 100.0 100.0 100.0

Age of Consumer by Rating of General Food Eaten
<11 11-15 16-19 20-34 35-60 >60 years
Good 50.0 27.7 30.2 33.1 54.8 50.0
Average 50.0 61.1 42.9 42.5 27.4 33.3
Poor 0.0 11.1 23.8 22.8 16.1 16.6
Missing Cases 0.0 0.1 3.1 1.6 1.7 0.1
% TOTAL 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Age of Consumer by Rating of Food Bought at Outlet
<11 11-15 16-19 20-34 35-60 >60 years
Good 16.6 11.1 17.4 16.6 33.9 16.7
Average 58.3 55.5 41.2 36.8 38.7 33.3
Poor 25.0 33.3 41.2 45.6 24.2 16.7
Missing Cases 0.1 0.1 0.2 1.0 3.2 33.3
% TOTAL 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Sex of Consumer by Rating of General Food Eaten
Good Average Poor Missing cases Total %
Male 38.0 36.7 22.6 2.7 100.0
Female 36.2 44.2 18.6 1.0 100.0

Sex of Consumer by Rating of Food Bought at Outlet
Good Average Poor Missing cases Total %
Male 23.2 33.5 41.3 2.0 100.0
Female 16.6 44.2 37.7 1.5 100.0

Name of Outlet by Rating of Food Bought at Outlet
Fish&chips Kentucky McDonalds Wimpy
Good 19.7 21.3 18.8 18.9
Average 36.8 42.7 39.6 36.5
Poor 42.1 35.9 37.6 41.9
Missing cases 1.4 0.1 4.0 2.7
% TOTAL 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Age of Consumer by Name of Outlet
<11 11-15 16-19 20-34 35-60 >60 Total %
Fish&chips 1.3 5.3 25.0 50.0 17.1 1.3 100.0
Kentucky 3.9 11.6 17.4 52.4 13.6 1.1 100.0
McDonalds 4.0 2.0 15.8 61.4 15.8 1.0 100.0
Wimpy 4.0 0.0 13.5 52.7 25.7 4.1 100.0

Belief of Manufacturer by Age of Consumer
<11 11-15 16-19 20-34 35-60 >60 years
Yes 8.3 16.6 20.6 12.4 22.6 16.7
No 75.0 83.3 74.6 85.0 72.6 83.3
Missing cases 16.7 0.1 4.8 2.6 4.8 0.0
% TOTAL 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Belief of Manufacturer by Sex of Consumer
Male Female
Yes 18.7 13.6
No 78.1 82.4
Missing cases 3.2 4.0
% TOTAL 100.0 100.0

Belief of Manufacturer by Occupation
Employed Unemployed H'wife Pensionner Student Schoolchild
Yes 18.6 8.7 18.2 11.1 5.6 10.7
No 77.7 87.0 78.8 88.9 94.4 82.1
Missing 3.7 4.3 3.0 0.0 0.0 7.2
% TOTAL 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Belief of Manufacturer by Income
<100/week 100-200/week >200/week
Yes 13.0 22.5 12.5
No 83.0 73.9 85.4
Missing cases 4.0 3.6 2.1
% TOTAL 100.0 100.0 100.0

Reason for Using Outlet by Income
<100/week 100-200/week >200/week
Fast 4.5 15.3 10.4
Convenient 37.8 39.6 54.1
Good quality 1.1 0.9 0.0
Like the taste 28.2 17.1 16.7
Cheap 1.1 0.0 2.1
Dislike cooking 0.6 0.9 0.0
For the children 4.0 1.8 0.0
Hungry 12.4 12.6 8.3
Other 10.2 10.8 8.3
Missing cases 0.1 1.0 0.1
% TOTAL 100.0 100.0 100.0

Reason for Using Outlet by Age
<11 11-15 16-19 20-34 35-60 >60 years
Fast 8.3 5.5 7.9 9.8 9.7 0.0
Convenient 0.0 38.9 36.5 43.0 40.3 16.6
Good quality 0.0 0.0 1.6 0.5 1.6 0.0
Like the taste 66.7 38.9 28.6 20.0 17.7 16.6
Cheap 0.0 5.5 0.0 1.0 0.0 0.0
Dislike cooking 0.0 0.0 1.6 0.5 0.0 0.0
For the children 16.7 0.0 0.0 1.6 6.5 0.0
Hungry 8.3 5.5 6.3 15.5 9.7 16.6
Other 0.0 5.5 17.4 7.3 14.5 50.0
Missing Cases 0.0 1.1 0.1 0.8 0.0 0.2
% TOTAL 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Reason for Using Outlet by Sex
Male Female
Fast 11.6 7.0
Convenient 44.5 35.1
Good quality 1.3 0.5
Like the taste 19.3 27.1
Cheap 1.3 0.5
Dislike cooking 0.6 0.5
For the children 1.3 3.5
Hungry 7.7 15.6
Other 11.6 10.1
Missing Cases 0.2 0.1
% TOTAL 100.0 100.0

>From Robin.Houston@wadham.oxford.ac.uk Mon Feb 12 15:20:46 1996 Date: Mon, 12 Feb 1996 16:30:07 GMT From: Robin Houston To: fran@oneworld.org Subject: Grazing in Peckham - finished version - for Brian
Reason for Using Outlet by Occupation
Employed Unemployed H'wife Pensionner Student Schoolchild
Fast 11.3 8.7 3.0 0.05.5 3.6
Convenient 43.6 34.8 27.3 44.4 38.9 25.0
Good quality 1.4 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Like the taste 18.6 23.9 36.3 22.2 16.7 53.5
Cheap 0.5 2.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 3.6
Dislike cooking 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 5.5 0.0
For the children 1.8 0.0 12.1 0.0 0.0 3.6
Hungry 11.8 15.2 18.3 11.1 5.5 7.1
Other 10.0 15.2 3.0 22.2 27.9 3.6
Missing cases 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
% TOTAL 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Main Meal by Age of Consumer
<11 11-15 16-19 20-34 35-60 >60 years
Yes 0.0 22.2 31.7 29.0 21.0 16.7
No 100.0 72.2 65.0 64.8 75.8 66.7
Missing Cases 0.0 5.6 3.3 6.2 3.2 16.6
% TOTAL 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Main Meal by Income
<100/week 100-200/week >200/week
Yes 28.8 22.5 25.0
No 65.5 73.0 70.8
Missing Cases 5.7 4.5 4.2
% TOTAL 100.0 100.0 100.0

Main Meal by Rating of Outlet Food
Good Average Poor Missing Cases Total %
Yes 20.2 45.7 34.0 0.1 100.0
No 19.4 37.6 41.7 1.3 100.0

Main Meal by Belief of Manufacturer
(manufacturer)
(main meal) Yes No Missing Cases Total %
Yes 17.0 78.7 4.3 100.0
No 14.9 81.8 3.4 100.0

Main Meal by Occupation
Employed Unemployed H'wife Pensionner Student Schoolchild
Yes 29.0 21.7 24.2 11.1 38.9 14.3
No 67.3 69.6 63.6 77.7 61.1 82.1
Missing cases 3.7 8.7 12.2 11.2 0.0 3.6
% TOTAL 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Main Meal by Reason for Using Outlet
Yes No
Fast 10.6 9.1
Convenient 39.3 39.7
Good quality 0.0 1.2
Like the taste 24.5 24.0
Cheap 0.0 1.2
Dislike cooking 1.1 0.4
For the children 1.1 2.9
Hungry 13.8 11.6
Other 9.6 9.5
Missing Cases 0.2 0.4
% TOTAL 100.0 100.0

Belief of Manufacturer by Name of Outlet
Fish&chips Kentucky Wimpy McDonalds
Yes 11.8 17.5 14.9 17.8
No 82.9 79.6 79.7 79.2
Missing Cases 5.3 2.9 5.4 3.0
% TOTAL 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Income of Consumer by Rating of Food Bought at Outlet
<100 100-200 >200
Good 16.4 22.5 25.0
Average 41.2 36.9 29.2
Poor 6.8 12.6 39.6
Missing Cases 35.6 28.0 6.2
% TOTAL 100.0 100.0 100.0

Discussion

From the findings of Bull(16), it has been concluded that 'the composition of meals in this area (fast food) is a matter of interest rather than a matter of importance'(17). Such suggestions may apply to national averages, but such averages obscure a possible high consumption of fast foods among certain sections of the population and the significant impact this may have on their diet.

In this survey of fast food eaters, 87% said that they ate fast food at least once a week, with 31% of those interviewed eating fast food every day. The quantity of fast food being eaten by this population is far greater than being just 'a matter of interest'.

If, as this survey suggests, significant numbers of people are using fast food outlets on a daily basis, the outlets are obviously serving a need and so their validity is unquestionable. However, for these people, a large and significant part of their diet consists of fast food and so the question of responsibility for providing adequate nutrition needs to be raised.

In an area where coronary heart disease is the biggest killer, the high quantities of fast food being eaten by some of the population must arouse concern. The outlets available are those which tend to sell high saturated fat products. Saturated fat is a major risk factor of coronary heart disease. There is a need for change in the nutritional policies of these manufacturers, to improve the quality of the products they are providing and to help decrease the risk of the diet-related diseases common to this area. The introduction of healthier products also involves the local planning authority, in this case, Southwark, to introduce new outlets into the area, which sell products with a lower fat content, such as pizza, baked potato and sandwiches. At present, they are all absent from the Peckham area. The frequency of their use was therefore low amongst those interviewed, but many remarked that they would use the outlets if they were available to them.

When the level of belief in the manufacturer is so low it would be ineffective for the product information to come soley from this source.

A survey done for MAFF in 1982, of 15-25 year olds, investigated their sources of information about diet and food(16). For men, the most important sources were television and their parents, but for women, it was magazines and friends.

One may question the level of consumer concern regarding a healthy diet, but the MAFF survey showed that nearly a quarter of the women were concerned about ingredients, although only 9% of the men showed very much concern. Half of the respondents would like more information, the majority would like this information to come from food labels, men also favouring the media as a source of information and women, manufacturer's leaflets.

If labelling was introduced into a fast food outlet the consumer would be able to relate the food about to be eaten to the information on the label. This would help the lady in Peckham who claimed that she doesn't eat red meat but had just bought a hamburger! This form of information has to be provided by the manufacturers, but labelling could easily be accommodated by the packaging used by most outlets, paper and cardboard, and also on the screens used to display the products.

As well as improving the products available and the availability of the information regarding them, the ability to understand the information also needs to be improved in order for any other steps to become effective, as shown by the experience of Wendy's, an American burger chain. Wendy's aimed to provide a burger with better quality ingredients, but then tried to diversify by introducing salads and baked potatoes. Although this is nutritionally sound and could be encouraged, it confused the consumers, diluted their image, and they lost the 'beef' reputation they had initially aimed to build up(18).

This indicates that health education should be improved, and was highlighted by the low level of consumer ability to rate the food that they ate, in terms of health. Some respondents admitted that they didn't know how to rate the food, and one respondent rated her general food as good simply because she ate no sweets.

This need for improving education is made more apparent when the majority of the consumers are seen to be young in age, and so health education in schools is important. One set of local school children was being encouraged to use fast food outlets the school bus stopped right outside McDonalds after school.


References

  1. Gordon Simmons Research Limited, 'Take-away and eating out at Restaurants', 1987.
  2. Mintel, 'Catering Markets for Foods', 1985.
  3. HOTAG Survey, from the Consumer Catering Report, 1986.
  4. MSI:Database, 'Fast food:UK', March 1987.
  5. 'Keynote Report 1987', Keynote Publications Ltd.
  6. Consumer Catering Report, 1986.
  7. Gallup Survey for 'Caterer and Hotelkeeper', February 1986.
  8. AGB-Attwood Market Monitor, 1985.
  9. National Advisory Committee on Nutrition Education, 'A discussion paper on proposals for nutritional guidelines for health education in Britain'. Health Education Council 1983.
  10. Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy, DHSS Report no.28, 'Diet and Cardiovascular Disease'. HMSO 1984.
  11. G.Vines, 'Takeaway diet leads to underweight babies' from 'New Scientist' 25 December/1 January 1987.
  12. R.W.Wemlock, M.M.Dusseldorf and R.K.Skinner, 'The Diets of British Schoolchildren'. DHSS 1986.
  13. R.Passmore and M.A.Eastwood 'Davidson and Passmore Human Nutriton and Dietetics'. Churchill Livingstone 1986.
  14. Southwark Council:'Southwark's Health: A report on the health of the borough of Southwark' and 'Fair Shares?: The Southwark Poverty Profile'.
  15. J.S.M.Band, 'Planning a survey by questionnaire' from 'Applied Nutrition:1'. John Libbey:London. 1981.
  16. Nicola L. Bull 'Dietary habits of 15 to 25-year-olds' from 'Human Nutrition:Applied Nutrition' Vol.39a Supplement 1:1-68 John Libbey:London. 1985.
  17. J.Pascoe, J.Docherty & J.Ryley 'Fast Foods', from R.Cotterell 'Nutrition in Catering'. Parthenon Publishing. 1987.
  18. 'Marketing Week'(p.21), 8-8-1986.

Tables of Results

Respondents' stated frequency of using a hamburger bar
Frequency Percentage
never 45 12.7
1adayformeal 24 6.8
2-3aweekformeal 47 13.3
1aweekformeal 39 11.0
2-3amonthformeal 12 3.4
1amonthformeal 20 5.6
<1amonthformeal 15 4.2
1adayforsnack 9 2.5
2-3aweekforsnack 45 12.7
1aweekforsnack 33 9.3
2-3amonthforsnack 17 4.8
1amonthforsnack 34 9.6
<1amonthforsnack 14 4.0
TOTAL 354 100.0

Respondents' stated frequency of using a fish and chip shop
Frequency Percentage
never 141 39.8
1adayformeal 6 1.7
2-3aweekformeal 27 7.6
1aweekformeal 47 13.3
2-3amonthformeal 15 4.2
1amonthformeal 25 7.1
<1amonthformeal 17 4.8
1adayforsnack 4 1.1
2-3aweekforsanck 12 3.4
1aweekforsnack 23 6.5
2-3amonthforsnack 8 2.3
1amonthforsnack 20 5.6
<1amonthforsnack 9 2.5
TOTAL 354 100.0

Respondents' stated frequency of using a pizza take-away
Frequency Percentage
never 244 68.9
1adayformeal 3 0.8
2-3aweekformeal 3 0.8
1aweekformeal 12 3.4
2-3amonthformeal 18 5.1
1amonthformeal 31 8.8
<1amonthformeal 21 5.9
2-3aweekforsnack 1 0.3
1aweekforsnack 5 1.4
2-3amonthforsnack 2 0.6
1amonthforsnack 11 3.1
<1amonthforsnack 3 0.8
TOTAL 354 100.0

Respondents' stated frequency of using an indian take-away
Frequency Percentage
never 269 76.0
1adayformeal 3 0.8
2-3aweekformeal 7 2.0
1aweekformeal 15 4.2
2-3amonthformeal 8 2.3
1amonthformeal 21 5.9
<1amonthformeal 25 7.1
2-3aweekforsnack 1 0.3
1aweekforsnack 1 0.3
1amonthforsnack 3 0.8
<1amonthforsnack 1 0.3
TOTAL 354 100.0

>From Robin.Houston@wadham.oxford.ac.uk Mon Feb 12 15:20:46 1996 Date: Mon, 12 Feb 1996 16:30:07 GMT From: Robin Houston To: fran@oneworld.org Subject: Grazing in Peckham - finished version - for Brian
Respondents' stated frequency of using a chinese take-away
FrequencyPercentage
never 162 45.8
1adayformeal 4 1.1
2-3aweekformeal 19 5.4
1aweekformeal 45 12.7
2-3amonthformeal 28 7.9
1amonthformeal 35 9.9
<1amonthformeal 31 8.8
1adayforsnack 1 0.3
2-3aweekforsanck 4 1.1
1aweekforsnack 7 2.0
2-3amonthforsnack 7 2.0
1amonthforsnack 6 1.7
<1amonthforsnack 5 1.4
TOTAL 354 100.0

Respondents' stated frequency of using a kebab house
Frequency Percentage
never 211 59.6
1adayformeal 1 0.3
2-3aweekformeal 10 2.8
1aweekformeal 21 5.9
2-3amonthformeal 12 3.4
1amonthformeal 23 6.5
<1amonthformeal 12 3.4
1adayforsnack 2 0.6
2-3aweekforsnack 6 1.7
1aweekforsnack 11 3.1
2-3amonthforsnack 11 3.1
1amonthforsnack 23 6.5
<1amonthforsnack 11 3.1
TOTAL 354 100.0

Respondents' stated frequency of using a deep-fried chicken outlet
Frequency Percentage
never 159 44.9
1adayformeal 4 1.1
2-3aweekformeal 24 6.8
1aweekformeal 31 8.8
2-3amonthformeal 18 5.1
1amonthformeal 28 7.9
<1amonthformeal 18 5.1
1adayforsnack 3 0.8
2-3aweekforsnack 7 2.0
1aweekforsnack 21 5.9
2-3amonthforsnack 9 2.5
1amonthforsnack 18 5.1
<1amonthforsnack 14 4.0
TOTAL 354 100.0

Respondents' stated frequency of using a sandwich or croissant bar
Frequency Percentage
never 280 79.1
1adayformeal 13 3.7
2-3aweekformeal 11 3.1
1aweekformeal 10 2.8
1amonthformeal 4 1.1
<1amonthformeal 1 0.3
1adayforsnack 5 1.4
2-3aweekforsnack 11 3.1
1aweekforsnack 7 2.0
2-3amonthforsnack 3 0.8
1amonthforsnack 3 0.8
<1amonthforsnack 6 1.7
TOTAL 354 100.0

Respondents' stated frequency of using a baked potato stand
Frequency Percentage
never 326 92.1
1adayformeal 1 0.3
2-3aweekformeal 2 0.6
1aweekformeal 5 1.4
2-3amonthformeal 2 0.6
1amonthformeal 3 0.8
<1amonthformeal 1 0.3
1adayforsnack 1 0.3
2-3aweekforsnack 1 0.3
1aweekforsnack 1 0.3
2-3amonthforsnack 2 0.6
1amonthforsnack 3 0.8
<1amonthforsnack 6 1.7
TOTAL 354 100.0

N.B. there were no pizza, croissant or baked potato outlets in the area.