As developing countries like Ghana and South Africa grow their economies, the number of local fast food restaurants grows rapidly as well. Fast food chains find an ideal opportunity for new markets in the densely populated parts of countries where disposable incomes are on the rise. In large cities, fast food chains like KFC are still considered a novelty, but franchisees are eager to make eating at their restaurants a part of everyone’s routine.
A recent piece by The New York Times examines the history of fast food in developing countries like South Africa and Ghana, and the data presented in this article suggests that the change in diet there has led to the growing obesity rates. According to the article, because food shortages were a prevailing problem just 20-30 years ago, over-consumption and weight gain are a welcome alternative to hunger. The article goes on to explain that, unlike in the United States, there hasn’t been demand from the government or consumers to include nutritional info on the menus. Therefore, for many, this food isn’t seen as unhealthy. Developing countries are stuck in a tug of war between limiting the consumption of processed food and encouraging the growth and urbanization that leads to increases in the presence of fast food chains.