With cigarette smoking on the decline (in America) coupled with a moderate improvement in the responsibility of alcohol consumption the major growing threat in front of the American people (and coming to the world) is obesity. The main driver of this is the infamous “carbohydrate” which is for the sake of this discussion is a long chain saccharide or simply put complex sugar.
High quantities of these are found in baked goods and other processed foods, while they pack a wallop calorie wise, they bring with them no nutritional (or very little in reference to their caloric yield) and therefore are typically referred to as “empty calories”. Why is this important and what does all of this have to do with outsourcing?
Starting in the 1990’s with the rise of right shoring where we started to see clerical and technical jobs move from American shores to abroad. New jobs failed to form in similar fields during this same time, therefore forcing the re-tooling of the workforce to provide services who demands as well as delivery where locally based. With manufacturing having already made its exodus to the far east and the world of information technology following quickly, there remained very few options outside of basic staples such as food service which met these criteria.
The interconnect of food service also fits solidly in Maslow’s base of fulfilling physiological needs and therefore universal, however the challenge becomes that of economic yield as typically profits and therefore wages in this space tend to be low because of the broad level of competition and commoditization. However here is where the carbohydrates enter the scene as a disruptive influence.
For a moment, take for example the penultimate carbohydrate food, the donut. It costs almost nothing material wise to produce, as its main ingredients are water, flour and sugar. Yet it can be sold easily for 50 to 60 times its cost (note this number has been adjusted for spoilage and waste otherwise the raw figure would be much higher). This same axiom also applies to all carbohydrate based products such as pizza, breads, etc.
Thus, as more jobs leave the American shore, the greater the American waistline will grow as a primary reinforcing loop is created as more and more folks move into the food service [or related] sector to seek employment. Also as this primary loop forms, it will then spawn a second reinforcing loop as mentioned above since the wage scale is less [in the food service field] there is also less income available to purchase food meaning low cost high carbohydrate foods stuffs (as it is cheaper then protein centric food, such as beef, chicken and fish) will be forced center stage to the American dinner table further driving the weight gain cycle.
Editors Note: to further demonstrate the impact of caloric impact lets take a regular bagel (without butter, cream cheese, etc) which weighs in at 350 calories and lets say its consumed by the average American male whose weight (as sampled from 1999 to 2002) is 190 pounds. This person will require around 2,000 calories per day to maintain their weight so this one bagel will be 18% of their total intake. For comparison let’s take an apple, which is only 60 calories and tips the percentage scale at only 3%! As you can see, the calories can add up very quickly as our friend the bagel (meant in a negative way) packs one heck of a caloric punch!