By: Chloe Harlig

1921– The first fast-food hamburger chain, White Castle, was founded in Wichita, Kansas. [1]

1955– Ray Kroc founded the first McDonald’s in Des Plaines, Illinois and would go on to become the most influential fast-food pioneer in history. By 1958, Kroc had sold his 100 millionth hamburger. [2]

1967– High fructose corn syrup was first introduced by The Food and Drug Administration and appeared in fast food. This new substance was primarily used in soft drinks and to sweeten processed food items. [3]

1969– A White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health was organized by President Richard Nixon to draw attention to widespread malnutrition and the nutritional problems of Americans. The conference goal was to compose a national nutrition policy and determine how to make it effective. [4]

1973– The Food and Drug Administration created the first regulations that required the nutrition labeling of foods. These regulations made any foods that were advertised or labeled based on their nutritional value to provide full nutrition facts. [5]

1989– Wendy’s first introduced their $0.99 Super Value Menu, which consisted of several popular items for a bargain. [6]

2002– A group of overweight children sued the McDonald’s Corporation for obesity related health problems because of their consumption of McDonald’s products. The children wanted more accessible nutritional labeling of products and appropriate funding for programs to educate consumers about the risks of fast food. [7]

2004– Morgan Spurlock’s controversial documentary Super Size Me debuted. Spurlock ate a diet consisting of only McDonald’s for 30 days as he explored the fast food industry and major health risks. McDonald’s later took their “Super Size” option off their menu because of the repercussions from the film. [8]

2006– Wendy’s enhanced the size and names of their drinks to keep up with the demand for soda from their consumers. They changed the name of their 32-ounce soda “biggie” to medium, added large 42-ounce soda, changed medium French fries to small, “biggie” to medium, and “great biggie” to large. [9]

2013– Fast food workers in over 60 cities in America are on strike to demand higher wages and the ability to form unions without retaliation. Workers are making around $9/hour and many are demanding at least $15/hour because they cannot live on their current salary. [10]


1 White Castle Corporation.

3 The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

6 “Wendy’s Returns 99¢ to Its Place on the Price Pedestal.”

7 “The McLawsuit: The Fast-Food Industry and Legal Accountability For Obesity.”

8 “From 2004: ‘Super Size Me.’”

9 Journal of Public Health Policy.

10 “Wave of fast food strikes hits 60 cities.”