Junk-Food Nation

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There's a good reason for that long waiting list to buy a McDonald's franchise: 14 percent of Americans consume a diet comprised almost entirely of fast food. A report released by Chicago-based Mintel Consumer Intelligence in August reveals that young adults are the ones most tempted by the golden arches. More than 1 in 5 of those ages 18 to 24 (22 percent) say their diet consists mainly of fast food and convenience food, such as frozen dinners. Ironically, their parents, those in the 45- to 54-year-old age range, are the least likely to report dining at a greasy spoon. Only 7 percent of this group says that their diet consists of convenience and fast food. Salty snacks like chips and pretzels form the foundation of the convenience/fast-food pyramid. And, according to Mintel, 17 percent of Americans report they just “can't help snacking on salty snacks.�

BET YOU CAN'T EAT JUST ONE

Sales of salty snacks in the U.S. have increased by 17 percent between 1995 and 2000.

Source: IRI/Mintel/PLMA

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