In the West we can’t get enough of Asian peasant food (noodles, sushi even) while in the Far East and, increasingly, other areas of Asia and Africa it’s fried chicken, pizza and burgers that these supposedly healthy eaters want to buy.
That seems to be the message from Yum Brands anyway whose quick service retaurants include KFC, Pizza Hut, A&W (burgers), Taco Bell and Wing Street.
Yum is the world’s biggest fast food operator, ahead of the mighty McDonald’s, with over 37,000 outlets in 110 countries. It’s heading for 1,000 outlets in China and is targeting markets like Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and India (where it has 0.2 outlets per million people compared to 60 in the US and five in China).
The Financial Times even reported before Christmas that the favourite Japanese way of celebrating the festival (a non-religious one in Japan of course) is with giant buckets of KFC. These are so popular, apparently, that you have to order them a month or so in advance.
This is all fine and dandy for Yum and its peers of course but some analysts and politicians are fretting that these changing worldwide food tastes are driving up the prices of various commodities to unaffordable heights for poorer people. Goodness knows what will happen to the worldwide poultry market if India’s billion or so people all start munching KFC.
Which they’re perfectly entitled to do of course. Perhaps it’s a good job that we westerners have acquired the taste for noodles and various rice-based dishes. Although the happening fast food brand in the UK just now is Spanish-influenced Leon, most of whose dishes major on – chicken.