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Pizza Hut's 2,880-calorie monster: a taste of a burgeoning global food crisis

Pizza Hut s 2 880 calorie monster a taste of a burgeoning global food crisis Global development The Observer

One chilly late autumn day in 2013 and I am sitting in a central London branch of Pizza Hut trying not to be noticed. I wanted a table towards the back but they directed me instead to one here, in the window. I turn my body away from the glass, but it makes no difference. I am well over six foot, have a chest so big there are plans to build a high-speed rail link between my nipples, and have hair like an unlit bonfire. Plus I whore about on television. Sitting in a public place inconspicuously is not part of my skill set.



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Quickly it arrives. It's certainly not misnamed. The middle is standard Pizza Hut: a soft doughy base as sodden and limp as a baby's nappy after it's been worn for 10 hours. There is a scab of waxy cheese and flaps of pink salami the colour, worryingly, of a three-year-old girl's party dress. What matters is the crust. Each of the 10 slices has a loop of crisped dough and in the circular fold made by that loop there is a tiny puck of burger, four or so centimetres across and smeared with more cheese. It looks like a fairground carousel realised in food.

When I prise out one of the mini burgers, the greasy, insipid dough beneath looks like the white flesh of an open wound that's been hidden under a plaster. Do I need to tell you that the burger is a sweaty, grey orb of deathly protein? It is advertised as 100% British beef, but origin is irrelevant after this has been done to it. Those poor, poor animals. Surely they could have reached a more dignified end, perhaps by cutting out the trip to Pizza Hut altogether and going straight to landfill?

As I bite down on the meat, hot salty water leaks into my mouth. There is the fat-soaked dough, the wretched insult of the cheese sputum, and a general air of desperation and regret.

I wish Pizza Hut could put this much energy into making vegetables delicious.

That pizza does not sound delicious.  

They could do pizza-flavored lentil stuffed cabbage, or stuffed peppers, same same.  

But that will never happen.  Because consumers don't want it.  

"In the past year, however, a second debate has come to the fore, and this one is all about the demand side. It's not just about how we produce the food we eat; it's about how much of that food we're consuming – or not actually consuming, as the case may be. In the past year, for example, the volume of the debate around food waste has been turned up and up. In September 2013 the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization released a report, Food Wastage Footprint: Impacts on Natural Resources [PDF], which revealed that the 1.3bn tonnes of food wasted globally each year caused $750bn worth of damage to the environment. The water wasted is equivalent to the entirety of the flow of Russia's Volga river. The waste food adds 3.3bn tonnes of greenhouse gases to the planet's atmosphere and uses 1.4bn hectares of land, or a full 28% of the globe's agriculture area. All to grow food that will never be eaten.

In November 2013 a report by the British government's waste advisory body, the Waste Resources Action Programme stated that Britons were still throwing away the equivalent of 24 meals a month, or 4.2m tonnes of food a year. Every day UK homes were chucking away 24m slices of bread, 5.8m potatoes and 1.1m eggs.

But there is another kind of waste, summed up by the Pizza Hut cheeseburger crust pizza, and that's overconsumption."

That's eye opening: The 2 kinds of waste. Especially along the backdrop of considerable World Hunger.

Will future generations look back at this era and shake their heads in disgust?

I think if food engineers put as much thought into vegetables as they do into these non-foods, we'd be living in a much different and much better where where consumers WOULD want their vegetables.

Pizza Hut with burgers in the crust meme Imgur