Slow Food and Fast Food: New Trends in International Marketing

Von Anne Dittmer, Francesco Sangiorgi, Svenja Schiller und Julia Zimmler

1. Definitions

Slow Food

The Slow Food Movement is based on organic farming and sustainability. It stands for fair and clean food (cf. N. N.,, 2012-04-19) and combines the different interests of consumers and food producers by underlining the common values. Slow food grew from an amateur club to a brand with international power (cf. N.N.,, 2012-04-23)

Fast Food

In the fast food industry restaurants, eateries and hotels offer quick service for the food and drink preparation. It can be characterized by the eight F’s: Fast, Full, Fresh, Fried, Family, Fantasy, Fordism and Franchising (cf. Yu, Zhang,, 2012-04-22). The market segment has grown from national to international markets with major players being companies such as McDonalds and Burger King (cf. N.N.,, 2012-04-20).

2. Marketing Strategies

Slow Food

Basically there are no direct marketing strategies within the Slow Food Movement and no traditional marketing strategies in terms of TV-spots or print media. (cf. N.N.,, 2012-04-23) The brand „Slow Food“ is spread through guerrilla marketing, viral marketing and especially by brand management. It was always just located in social places with less competition and no repression of other brands (Harris, Richardson,, 2012-04-23). They are also communicating their value through their company website, events e.g.(cf. N.N,, 2012-04-23). In general restaurants and supermarkets advertise their products as delicious local and sustainable food, all made with organic ingredients, high differentiation, small quantities and slow consumption (cf. N.N.,, 2012-04-21).

Fast Food

International marketing strategies involve standardization and adaptation. With the standardization approach a company creates a marketing strategy as if the world is a single market. The adaptation approach focuses on the regional and cultural conditions (cf. Doole, Lowe 2008, p. 131). As opposed to the marketing strategy of slow food, fast food chains use the 4 P`s for the marketing strategy (cf. Kara, Kaynak, Kucukemiroglu 1997, p.54). Some fast food providers focus on healthy products with lower fat, lower cholesterol, and lower sodium. They tend to use more fresh or organic ingredients and expanded their portfolio. For example McDonald’s serve wraps, salads or fruits as a part of the kids’ meals (cf. N. N.,, 2012-04-25).The quick service restaurants like McDonald’s and Burger King try to offer their products cheap, but the prices of raw materials like meat, paper & oil increase (cf. N. N.,, 2012-04-24). That’s why they have to mark up the prices slightly. Fast food companies use social media for a good interaction with their customers (Harris, Richardson,, 2012-04-23).Subway uses this channel to find out which ingredients their customers prefer. The main target groups of the most fast food suppliers are children and adolescents (cf. N. N.,, 2012-04-26). The fast food providers try to make their locations more comfortable and attractive for their customers in order that they stay longer and eat and drink more (cf. N.N.,, 2012-04-26). McDonald’s has invested a lot of money to modernize its branches and offers Wi-Fi-Service and McCafe’s (cf. N.N.,, 2012-04-23). Furthermore they started to build some eco-friendly restaurants (cf. Liddle,, 2012-04-25).

3. Trends in China and USA China

The Chinese cuisine has a wide range of food and attaches great importance to the combination of color, taste, smell and on the choice of ingredients (cf. N.N.,, 2012-04-28). The traditional food has more and more been replaced by Fast Food. But the mind of Slow Food is still integrated in the Chinese tradition (cf. Reilly,, 2012-04-28) USA The USA as the “Fast Food Nation” gradually changes the unhealthy lifestyle and the Slow Food Movement gets more and more popular in the USA (cf. N.N.,, 2012-04-25). Restaurants are offering locally farmed organic products in their menus (cf. N.N.,, 2012-04-21). Furthermore the “Fairfield Green Food Guide & Slow Food Metro North” want to address the adolescents. The aim is to teach them how to enjoy food and how to live healthier (cf. N. N.,, 2012-04-30).

4. International Trends

A good example for the development and the marketing trends of the Fast Food Industry is the company Vapiano. It’s a German fast food restaurant chain which serves Italian food, including freshly made pasta, pizza and desserts. And you can also have a cup of coffee or a glass of wine in the bar of the restaurant. It offers a dining experience that combines high quality food with a comfortable and stylish environment (cf. N.N.,, 2012-05-01)

In February 2011 the fast food provider McDonald’s started the first “my burger” marketing campaign in Germany. The customers created via Facebook their own burger which people could vote for and the five most popular burgers were sold. This campaign was so successful that they are going to start a new “my burger” campaign in 2012 (cf. N.N.,, 2012-04-29). For Italian consumers traditional taste plays an important role in regard to Fast Food. Fast food companies have to offer premium ingredients, a welcoming restaurant design and convenient restaurants. On the other hand the products have to be value-priced for the Italian population (cf. N.N.,, 2012-05-01). In India the chains adapt different menus for the Indian consumers. For example, McDonalds sells lamb and chicken burgers instead of beef burgers (cf. Chaturvedi,, 2012-05-03). Fast food companies have a larger selection of vegetarian food compared to the Western world. The emphasis is rather on quality and variety of food (cf. Plowright,, 2012-05-03).


Chaturvedi, P.: How McDonald’s evolved its marketing in India, a_ENG.pdf, date: 2012-05-03

Doole, L., Lowe, R. (2008): International Marketing Strategy, London: South-Western Cengage Learning, p. 131

Harris, J., Richardson, J.: “Food Marketing and Social Media”, ia_AmericanUniversity_11.11.pdf, date: 2012-04-23

Kara A., Kaynak E., Kucukemiroglu O. (1997): Marketing strategies for fast-food restaurants: a customer view, p. 54

Liddle, A.: A look at two ‚green‘ McDonald’s units, mcdonalds-units, date: 2012-04-25

N.N.: From Plate to Planet,, date: 2012-04-19

N.N.: Fast Food – statistics and facts, , date: 2012-04-20

N.N.: 100-Mile Menu Celebrates Local Flavors, date: 2012- 04-21

N.N.: Terra Madre,, date: 2012-04-23

N.N: Fast Food Industry Analysis 2012 – Cost & Trends, , date: 2012-04-23

N.N.: Connecting Producers and Consumers,, date: 2012-04-23

N.N.: „Kampferprobt in Marketingstrategien“,–Vertrieb-Kampferprobt-in- Marketingstrategien, date: 2012-04-23

N.N.: Preiserhöhung McDonalds, Riese-McDonalds-erhoeht-die-Preise.html, date: 2012-04-24

N.N.:Nutrition,, date: 2012-04-25

N.N.: Greenmarket,, date: 2012-04-25

N.N: Study: Fast-Food Ads Target Kids with Unhealthy Food, and It Works, and-it-works/#ixzz1uAQCmOCx, date: 2012-04-26

N.N:Fast Food in Norway, , date: 2012-04-26

N.N.: Slow Food statt Fast Food,, date: 2012-04-28

N.N.: MC Donalds startet mein Burger in Deutschland,, date: 2012-04-29

N.N.:Food Day Event: Overcoming Obstacles to Improving School Food, improving-school-food/, date: 2012-04-30

N.N.:Fast Food in Italy, ,date: 2012-05-01

N.N.: VAPIANO – Mediterranean pleasure and joie de vivre,, date: 2012-05-01

Plowright, A.: Western fast food, waistlines surge in India,, date: 2012-05-03

Reilly, F.: Stop the Presses! Slow Food Comes to Shanghai!, to.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nanchanglu +%28Life+on+Nanchang+Lu%29, date: 2012-04-28

Yu C., Zhang T.: American Fast Food in Chinese Market: A Cross-Cultural Perspective,, date: 2012-04-22


Über Prof. Dr. Heike Simmet

Prof. Dr. Heike Simmet Professorin für Betriebswirtschaft Speaker und Beraterin
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