Ray Kroc, brainchild behind the franchising of the McDonald’s name claimed ‘The organisation cannot trust the individual; the individual must trust the organisation.’ Through exploring fast food, and the world it has made, this book questions how far individuals are able to trust the vast power-wielding multi-national organisations who have so much become a part of familiar high-street iconography.
‘Chew on this’ is written by Eric Schlosser, author of the best-selling ‘Fast Food Nation’. It is very much a book of our time, and is a constituent of the back-lash that the fast-food industry ‘ perhaps embodied in the fullest by McDonald’s ‘ is currently suffering.
On June 19, 1997 Justice Bell delivered his verdict on the McLibel trial carried out against activists Helen Steel and David Morris. Despite having won the case and being awarded ‘60,000, in the verdict against allegations that the company’s marketing ‘exploit[s] children by using them, as more susceptible subjects of advertising, to pressurise their parents into going to McDonald’s’ was deemed to be true.
‘Chew on this’ is the highly political and politicised reaction against this. Aimed specifically at the 12+ market and backed by a major educational and promotional campaign which has seen ‘Chew on this’ packs sent to over 5,000 schools, a soon-to-launch microsite with both adult and children’s zones www.chewonthisbook.co.uk , serialisation through the Guardian and extensive media coverage elsewhere, the book provides an important defence against one of the frightening statistics Schlosser provides for readers in the book ‘ the staggering ‘300 million British food companies spend annually on advertising aimed specifically at children.
Split into bite-size chapters focusing on aspects including the development of the fast-food phenomenon, advertising and marketing aimed at creating consumers of children, food additives, meat production and obesity, ‘Chew on this’ makes decidedly chilling facts digestible. Surprisingly this makes for compulsive, though frightening reading, and the observation that every pound spent in a fast-food restaurant is a vote in-favour of the politics and actions these companies have are imbued within provides food-for-thought that outweighs the ‘convenience’ such vendors purportedly provide.