"People don't want to get out of their cars to get dinner."
June 13, 2011 2:35 PM   Subscribe

Are there any studies (links) out there that compare the fast food of today with that of fast food from 10, 20, or even 30 years ago? I was discussing this issue with a friend and we were wondering whether or not a McDonald's Big Mac in 2011 is worse than a Big Mac from 1980. Any studies or links need not be limited to just McDonalds or the Big Mac, though it would settle our argument.
posted by Fizz to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I feel like this might be answered in Fast Food Nation (the book not the movie).
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:48 PM on June 13, 2011

I know in Supersize Me (the Morgan Spurlock documentary) he mentions that a kid's sized meal was an adult large at some point in history, so maybe you should check the doc?
posted by xicana63 at 3:11 PM on June 13, 2011

Response by poster: I've seen that documentary but I must have missed that. Thanks, I might just do that. He does discuss a fair bit about their nutrition or lack.
posted by Fizz at 3:13 PM on June 13, 2011

Best answer: From someone who used to visit Micky D's in the 70's I can tell you from a personal subjective viewpoint that their is a huge difference in the quality of their food now and back then. The beef patty used to have the consistency and taste of actual ground beef rather then the greyish pile of crap that is placed between the buns today. Also, the amount of onions and pickles etc was greater in the past and of better quality as well. It used to taste like a burger - now it tastes like a sugary-salty piece of crapcake. The quality of other fast food establishments such as Wendy's (which, long ago, used to have burgers and fries rivaling that of In and Out) has declined as well.

Forgive my rant but 50 years of living has pretty much turned me on to the fact that virtually anything produced by a largish corporation will continue to decline in quality in order to create greater profit margins for the small minority of people who control it.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 3:43 PM on June 13, 2011 [12 favorites]

Response by poster: Poet_Lariat, I recently lost a lot of weight due to exercise and the complete cutting off of fast-food. But prior to the past 8 months I was a frequenter of McDonalds on a fairly regular basis. That is what started this discussion with my friend. I made the comment that I don't remember the food being this poor in both quality and taste. My friend says it cannot be that much different. I disagree.
posted by Fizz at 4:31 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Absolutely nothing to back this up with scientifically other than generalization, but wouldn't current fast food have to be worse than that of several decades ago, owing to the more recent advent of incredibly cheap processed "food" products? Cf. Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and his constant exposure of faux food in almost everything we eat made by major corporations - pink slime in meat, high fructose corn syrup from bread to sodas, etc etc. I can't fathom McDonald's ingredients are what they were in 1980, and certainly not what they were prior to that point.
posted by AthenaPolias at 6:41 PM on June 13, 2011

The sourcing has changed completely, and the way the beef, potatoes, tomatoes, etc are produced have also changed completely in 30 years. It would be hard for the products to taste the same or have the same composition given the transformations in the food industry. It's empirically obvious, but would take a lot of source-gathering to "prove" in terms of a direct, item-for-item analysis.
posted by Miko at 6:14 AM on June 14, 2011

While I would be surprised if the quality of the burgers hasn't gone down over the years, I would be surprised if things had changed noticably in the last 8 months.
posted by aimedwander at 7:10 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

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