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Eating fast food slowly? Cultural usage and meaning of fast food in America and Japan

Futoshi Kobayashi (Faculty of Comparative Culture, School of International Liberal Arts, Miyazaki International College, Miyazaki‐shi, Japan)

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Article publication date: 26 October 2012

Abstract

Purpose

Although several anthropologists have reported various cultural differences between East Asians and Americans regarding their usage of fast food based on their ethnographic fieldwork, a quantitative study to test the validity of such findings is necessary for advancement of this research field. The purpose of this study is to quantitatively investigate cultural differences and similarities between American and Japanese college students regarding the usage and meaning of fast food.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 130 Japanese college students (82 female and 48 male) in Miyazaki, Japan and 70 American college students (43 female and 27 male) in Maine, USA answered the survey in order to assess their conceptualization and usage of fast food.

Findings

The results indicated that: both Americans and Japanese assumed that fast food was a meal instead of a snack, Japanese and women in general were more likely to visit fast food restaurants with others instead of going alone than Americans and men in general, and Japanese were more likely to share their ordered fast food items with others and stay at fast food restaurants for a longer duration than Americans.

Research limitations/implications

Due to the limited sample size, the results of the present study might be strengthened with further investigation of different samples.

Practical implications

Like qualitative studies conducted before, the results of this quantitative study provided evidence to suggest that there are cultural differences in the meaning and usage of fast food between East Asians and Americans.

Originality/value

There were few quantitative studies on cultural differences in the meaning and usage of fast food between East Asians and Americans. The present study might be the first such study.

Keywords

Citation

Kobayashi, F. (2012), "Eating fast food slowly? Cultural usage and meaning of fast food in America and Japan", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 42 No. 6, pp. 405-411. https://doi.org/10.1108/00346651211277654

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited