When major food companies began widely using partially hydrogenated oils in the 1970s, they thought they were making their products more healthful. Consumer groups and regulators applauded the industry's switch from heavily saturated fats, such as lard and palm oil.The article was interesting. But I'm posting it because it spurred me to a different thought: the last business I would want to enter for the long term would be the burger industry.
But the evidence is growing that the trans fatty acids in partially hydrogenated oils are damaging to the heart too -- and more so than other kinds of fats. Once again, the food industry is looking for an alternative fat, only this time there doesn't seem to be an easy answer.
Though a few major players, such as Frito-Lay Inc. and Pepperidge Farm Inc., have already made the switch to other oils, industry officials said many other companies won't be able to make the change in time. They say that's because alternative oils have their own health problems, are too expensive, or can't be substituted without changing the taste, texture or shelf life of a product.
Americans are increasingly health conscious, and it seems to me that the current predominance of burger places in fast food is not sustainable. The question is what will be the new big thing. In some ways Subway has already started the evolution towards more healthy fast food, but I imagine the fast food landscape will look much different in 30 years.