Battle of the burgers for PN
What is your favourite fast food restaurant?
As another North American burger chain announces its plans to come to Palmerston North, a nutrition expert has warned that the city's young population could be being targeted by fast-food giants.
Carl's Jr, an American burger chain run in New Zealand by Restaurant Brands, is opening an outlet in Palmerston North.
A Restaurant Brands spokeswoman said the plan was to open the Carl's Jr store later this year. The announcement follows Wendy's beginning construction of a restaurant in Rangitikei St.
Burger King has also confirmed it was looking at a third site in the city.
If all three new restaurants are built, it would put Palmerston North well above other similarly-sized cities in the number of fast-food joints.
Taking into account Burger King, KFC, Wendy's, Oporto and McDonald's, Palmerston North would have 10 fast-food outlets, more than Rotorua (6), New Plymouth (4) and Tauranga (7).
Massey University Associate Professor Jane Coad, a nutrition expert, said there was a link between the number of fast-food outlets and how much fast food was consumed.
"It's not a straightforward relationship [but] if there's more outlets, they will be more competitive on price."
Any lowering of prices due to competition would encourage people to buy the products, she said.
Young men were most at risk from an increase in fast-food outlets, she said. "There's lots of research that shows it's young men that are high consumers of fast food."
The high number of university students in Palmerston North could be a reason why fast-food chains were happy to open here, she said.
"Surely the companies have done some kind of assessment to justify opening here, and maybe Palmerston North is particularly vulnerable with the young population and young people - some of whom can't cook.
"We have looked at students dietary intake data and there's quite high fast-food consumption.
"They also tend to have less at-home meals."
A lack of cooking skills was a factor in the rise of the morbidly obese, Prof Coad said.
"It's why cooking programmes have gone back to scratch, like cooking an egg."
There was also recent research in the United States that linked fast food to depression.
"But they can't place what comes first - the depression or the eating."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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