Food Globalization in China
In most Chinese traditional families, family members would sit around the dining table and dine together. Everyone would talk about the day and bond as a family. Usually, it would be the mother who would buy groceries after work and return home to cook for the family. Sometimes, the father, the children or even the grandparents would help out in the kitchen. The mother of the family would always consider the nutrition, thus for every dish, it would be well-prepared, making sure that every family member would not have any health problems, such as getting sick or malnutrition. This was what a Chinese traditional family would be like in the past where fast food restaurants and “instant” food were scarce. Today’s Chinese family has altered tremendously. Purchasing meals at fast food restaurants is such an easy task compared to the loads of work and preparation for cooking at home. As a result, a mother has lost her chance to increase her energy expenditure that she would have spent on traveling to the grocery store, choosing and purchasing items, and returning home to cook. In addition, the bonding time for the family has decreased due to lack of interactions such as cooking and dining together. Instead, a mother has found other ways to provide food for the family. She would often go straight to a nearby fast food chain, make a take-away order or purchase instant French fries or noodles from a nearby supermarket. Likewise, compared to the traditional way of Chinese dinners, where families sit around a table of different dishes, fast food menus are mostly set for individuals, the amount of time that a family spends together is again decreased, and this unhealthy diet may slowly lead to unpredicted illnesses.
In a matter of time, whether you are sitting in a restaurant or walking along the shopping districts of Shanghai, you look around and you could see humongous people with waist like pillars, arms that looks like thighs and thighs that rub against each other when they walk, one hand holding a cup of Pepsi and the other feeding themselves with McDonald’s cheese burger. There will be no more people with wrinkles and white hair. The life expectancy has dropped to fifty. This is not an illusion but an anticipated look of the future: The Fat China.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, globalization is the development of an increasingly integrated global economy, which is marked by the increase in cross-border flows of goods, services, money, people, information and culture. It brings the world together by spreading different ideas, making foreign products easier to access, speeding up the pace of life, and increasing the understanding around us. Most countries welcome the rush of globalization, which symbolizes advancements. However, the negative consequences on Chinese culture are deniable and are not worth the consequences. Food globalization is spreading through the world’s diverse cultures in the form of fast food restaurants, high-caloric beverages, supermarkets supplying instant food and high-caloric imported products, and culture changes that affect family bonding time. These changes have resulted in unhealthy diets, a decrease of energy expenditure, and illnesses such as obesity. Food globalization is causing a negative effect in China.
Since the 1980s, China’s openness has led to the growth of foreign fast food chains in China. Coca-cola, Starbucks, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Häagen-Daz, Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin-Robbins, Pepsi, DQ, Pizzahut, Papa John’s and Mcdonald’s can be found almost everywhere in China (Popkin). According to Wen Dale, a member of the International Forum on Globalization, McDonald’s alone has opened up to at least 235 restaurants in China, excluding 158 Mcdonald’s franchises in Hong Kong. Every time when I go by McDonald’s in China, I can see the long lines of people, waiting for their turn to purchase the high-caloric food. When...
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