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The Transition of the American Fast Food Culture to the Gulf Nations


The American food culture has influenced many cuisines all over the world. In addition to Europe and Asian nations, the American fast food movement has spread to the Arabian Gulf countries. The Gulf nations include Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Oman. This research paper will rely on the review of literature materials from other researchers on the American fast food movement to the United Arab Emirates. The literature reviewed must be from individuals who have the authority in the area of culinary science, tours, and travel as well as cultural studies. This paper seeks to determine how the American fast food has transitioned to the Gulf nations.
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How the American Fast Food Culture Has Transitioned to the Gulf Nations

In the Arabian Gulf region, fast food consumption has taken over from the local foods. Thus, many people have substituted their local domestic food with the Western fast foods. The hamburger culture has captivated the young population of the Gulf region, gaining more and more popularity among people. Such a change is occasioned by the fact that the fast food culture has spread to these nations as the result of the American cultural influence, including food. For example, families now prefer going out to a local restaurant and ordering fast food, and such visits become sources of entertainment for them. There is a perception that fast food is so tasty, fun, clean, and readily affordable. The majority of fast food brands have identified the expansion to Middle East as an easier way of compensating the softness of the Western markets.

The United Arab Emirates is among the nations that have undergone outstanding socio-economic changes in the past decades. Descriptive study methodology was used to give a conclusive description of the change in dietary intake for Arabs. A self-administered questionnaire on food and preferences was presented to the respondents in the Gulf nations. They had reported quite noticeable changes within their food consumptions as well as preferences for the traditional foods and westernized ones. There was a huge shift to the western cuisine along with the unbalanced diets as a result of consuming fast foods.

More and more people have adopted the American eating habits that heavily rely on fast foods and readily processed ones. Thus, the Gulf countries have experienced a rapid change in their consumption food patterns, lifestyle, and their health status, owing to the sharp rise in income from their accumulated oil revenues. Because of the fast food consumption, people have acquired diet-related and other chronic diseases that have formed a great part of their primary health problems. However, the micronutrient deficiencies and undernutrition still exist among the vulnerable groups of the population of these nations.

The UAE culture has become a blend of both conservative and modern elements. This factor has consequently opened an opportunity for the fast food industries to influence changes. The Islamic, which that is associated with the traditional and tribal societies of Arabs, presupposes a stable and the conservative social structure. However, there has been a degree of tolerance and openness that consequently allows expatriate families to have and enjoy their familiar leisure activities and entertainments, including the consumption of fast foods and alcohol.

The penetration of fast foods into the food culture of the Gulf countries began with the introduction of hamburgers in Kuwait. Afterwards, McDonalds entered the market, followed by such major brands as Johhny Rockets, Pizza Hut, Dominos, Nathans, Subway, and Hardees. The cultural invasion of fast foods in Kuwait by the Westerners had been welcomed with little resistance since the majority of these food products were consumed by Arabs anyway, except for pork products. With time, anything that had a symbol of American fast food could be found in any city in Kuwait and other regions of the Gulf. However, the majority of the population does not realize that fast foods contain too many calories with very little nutritional value. Additionally, these food products have high level of saturated fats, sugar, and very little fiber.

Americans have realized that the Arab worlds love to their western branded fast foods is obviously bottomless. Moreover, the region has some affluent oil exporting countries that have their high-end fast food hotels that set a price tag of $40 for French fries and hamburgers and easily acquire their clientele. For instance, McDonalds can sell its meals at a markup of 5 to 10% from their usual cost within the United States. Over the recent years, the Gulf nations have witnessed the launches of various Western niche brands of fast foods. To conquer the region, these businesses must have a local partner that does the work of investing and executing on the grounds. Their role is to tweak the products to blend well with the regional taste and mostly Muslim consumer base.

Nothing fascinates the USA more than pizza, fries, a burger, and a milk shake. However, in the recent years, fast foods in the USA have turned from being a merely staple food in the consumer era to becoming a game changer domestically. The conglomerates of fast foods giants have gathered a new set of consumers by extending towards other parts of the world. These new areas have their markets less saturated, which means they can gain an easy access to them. At the same time, these new entrants have less knowledge about the dangers of fast foods. The most remarkable areas where fast food consumption has gained its roots within the recent decades is the Gulf region that has a significant portion of the richest and middle-income population in the Middle East. Because of oil revenues, the countries of the Gulf region have transformed drastically over the last half a century. Similarly, with the great wealth and sophistication in the lifestyle of consumers, there came a flood of cheap burgers.

The eating preferences of many Arabs have been influenced by the various types of food that are made available in their environment. Even though their diet and food consumption habits remain connected to their usual traditional selection of foods they are familiar with , these people have experienced prevalence in diet-related health problems such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. This is directly linked to the presence of various cuisines and fast food products that are imported from various nations across the world, especially the USA. The change has been characterized by a trend in the Western imitation of diet food that contains high energy dense foods, sugar, and fats but little complex carbohydrates.

The giants of the fast food industry have invested in a heavy promotion of their products in newspapers, TV, billboards, and social media. One can easily notice their brands because they capture their consumers attention very well because of a good promotion. Nowadays, social media has become popular means of reaching out to clients since everybody has a smart phone and uses it. Upon driving on the Arabian countries major highways, one can notice various fast food stores of a great variety of brands since these companies have billboards posted with advertisements. Their marketing strategy is aimed at young people, and it lays more emphasis on the application of vegetable oil and pure Halal meat. They focus more on offering pure meat and no extra ingredients, which attracts the young people who are mindful of their weight. These brands concentrate more on the good deals and not the sugar or fat levels that have terrible effects for consumers health.

Fast food franchises have targeted the Gulf region in order to make big deals from their sales. In order to capture the local market, fast food corporations have adopted strategies that attract the attention of locals. For instance, they had to adjust specific dishes and consider the peculiarities of tastes of the Middle East. Furthermore, they use Arabic names to make consumers feel a sense of cultural appreciation. The main demerit, which fast food consumption behavior has brought to the population of the Gulf region, is obesity crisis. These nations have now been forced to invest much in the creation of health cubs and promoting outdoor activities or simple walking exercises among citizens. There has been a great increase in the number of patients who undergo stomach stapling surgeries. The Gulf nations have been forced to introduce the health implications of fast food consumption in school syllabus as this issue affects the young generation.

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The American fast food culture has been transferred to the Gulf countries, which has significantly affected the eating habits of people. The citizens of these nations have experienced a change in their eating patterns due to the American fast food movement. As a result, increased levels of obesity and overweight have been registered. The prevalence of obesity among children and young adults is attributed to the significant changes in their eating habits. The Arab Gulf countries have had a change in their diet as more and more citizens have increased their consumption of fat, sugars, and many other unhealthy things. People increasingly consume food outside their homes. Therefore, the American fast food culture has become fully adopted by the Gulf nations.

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