This is a fascinating slice of life in Kuwait, a country with the fourth highest per capita income in the world.
Kuwait City’s Gulf Road has beautiful beachfront real estate but instead of seeing big fancy hotels and private mansions, you see McDonald’s Burger King, KFC and Pizza Hut.
VICE News looks into the economic, environmental, cultural and food addiction forces driving the explosion of fast food in Kuwait and the obesity epidemic that has become this country’s largest public health crisis in the wake of the Gulf Wars.
Kuwait is now one of the most obese nations on Earth, with roughly double the percentage of diabetic adults than the US. A big part of what’s allowing this trend to grow unchecked is a lack of awareness.
VICE then goes to Murfreesboro, Tennessee to meet with Andy Puzder, CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s and other fast food restaurant brands. Food labeling laws in the US make now fast food restaurants display calorie information and offer healthy options on their menus, inuring customers of their own responsibility for what they eat and absolving fast food restaurants of their liability for offering highly addictive, unhealthy products.
Puzder says that over the past three years, CKE has opened more restaurants outside the United States than inside. The largest untapped region right now is Africa, where CKE has opened a chain in Kenya and looking to expand to Tunisia, Nigeria and South Africa. He explains how fast food restaurants abroad are selling the American Dream and “When you stop growing, you start dying and we don’t want to start dying.”