“Don’t forget to eat your carrots!” In some point of our lives, we have all heard of this phrase either personally or in the media.
Growing up, we have one or two kinds of food that we hate or don’t like as much, and our parents would always scold us for being picky eaters. Sometimes, this pickiness goes away with age but other times they stay with us where the sentiment grows even stronger.
Picking up with the fast-paced lifestyle, fast-food restaurants of all sizes have increased an average of 5.5% in value and 2.2% in volume over the past years, according to the Census and Statistics Department. Unfortunate for picky eaters, food menus are restricted for efficiency while food quality struggles to be at the top.
But we see a new trend rising and it clears the skies for picky eaters in Hong Kong. Consumers have developed all sort of ways to spice up their fast-food meals so chain restaurants have followed their footsteps.
Foodies have recreated ways to gourmet-like fast-food without having to break the bank. For example; if you want French fries out of the fryer, you could request for salt-free fries. Although it could be up to a 10-minute wait, you could enjoy crispy fries then add salt to your liking.
In fact, this kind of practice is not new to locals in Hong Kong. It is common to hear requests for less ice for lemon iced tea at Hong Kong-style cafés as ice dilutes the drink. Condiments are always on the side of the table for customers to adjust the food to their personal tastes.
Thanks to this habit of HongKongers, we are home to one of the fanciest McDonald’s in the world, reported by Buzzfeed. Not only could you customise your burgers but also the food is served to you at the table.
Hong Kong is taking fast-food restaurants to a whole new level where we can satisfy all kinds of picky eaters.
Below is an interesting take on local picky eaters.
Health Conscious Eaters
For two consecutive years, Hong Kong has secured the top spot in average life expectancy of 81.32 years for men and 87.34 years for women. Many researchers have attributed this phenomenon to Hongkongers’ eating habits. Ever since the government’s Eat Smart campaign of “3 Less Dish” for restaurants, local food providers have since incorporate more healthy food choices in their menu. Even multinational brands adjust their food products with less sugar, salt and oil to appease the locals.
Money Minded Eaters
These eaters are willing to do whatever it takes to make the most out of their money. Cost-free demands such as, more rice or the use of free condiments are a common find. Furthermore, some chains reduce food waste with economic incentives; for example, you could save $1 at Tam Jai, a fast-food noodle chain, by ordering less noodles.
As mentioned earlier, they are the key to finding gourmet-like food at fast-food restaurants. With a little bit of patience and face, they would do special requests to make a cheap and quick meal into a fancy one.
All in all, picky eaters have evolved and so has the food industry. The industry could now potentially satisfy all types of picky eaters with the choices they provide. The food industry evolves while picky eaters no longer hide in the shade; a win-win situation.