By Alex Free
Given the negative impact of the fast food industry on food sovereignty and security, isn’t it a little odd that the World Food Programme has teamed up with KFC to fund its hunger relief efforts, asks Alex Free. Fast food’s methods of production and perpetual drive to lower costs work to undermine ‘environments, biodiversity and local people’s access to land’, says Free, while tackling world hunger demands the exact opposite: ‘Working towards sustainable access to food; recognising local expertise; promoting biodiversity; and putting people before profits.’
You are the World Food Programme (WFP), the food aid arm of the United Nations and the biggest humanitarian organisation working on hunger worldwide. In your mission to tackle world hunger, you work to enable local populations to achieve greater food security and support sustainable solutions to help the approximately 1 billion people around the globe whose access to food remains at risk. How do you go about fulfilling this mission? You team up with fast food giant Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC).
A subsidiary of parent Yum! (the world’s largest restaurant company and owner of Pizza Hut and Taco Bell), KFC seems a curious partner for the WFP. Fast food companies know little about providing nutritious, sensibly portioned products for their customers, as evidenced by a recent KFC incarnation dubbed the ‘Double Down’, ‘a bacon-and-cheese sandwich that features two pieces of fried chicken in place of the traditional bun … described by nutritionists as an affront to human health’. What’s more, these companies have consistently demonstrated that they only make their products ‘healthier’ following market pressure and demands from food activists and nutritional authorities; such changes do not emerge organically. Fast food companies are also thought to eradicate countries’ culinary diversity, routinely undercutting local companies, suppliers and producers as part of an assault on national cuisines.
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