MindBullets 20 Years

Fast food takes a body blow

McDonalds is the latest GLP-1 victim as obesity falls

Four years ago, 800 million people globally were classed as obese, including 40% of the US population, and Novo Nordisk was the most valuable company in Europe. With Novo’s introduction of an affordable, tablet-form GLP-1 in early 2025, effortless weight loss was no longer the exclusive remit of celebs, tech billionaires and influencers.

GLP-1 (pronounced gulp-one), or Glucagon-like peptide 1, is a naturally occurring hormone that stimulates insulin secretion and inhibits glucagon release, regulating blood sugar levels and suppressing appetites by creating a feeling of being full. People taking GLP-1 consume 20-30% fewer calories, and lose an average of 13 kg in the first 12 weeks.

With accessible, affordable GLP-1 pills arriving at the peak of the global obesity crisis and fast gaining ubiquitous adoption, the world now looks very different! Countries like the US and UK now have obesity rates of under 15%, and most of these remaining individuals are plus sized by choice.

Public health services are finally coming up for air after almost collapsing under the strain of obesity-related co-morbidities, but drug companies and medical device providers are having to find new revenue streams as rates of sleep apnoea, kidney disease, heart disease and joint replacements wane.

The food industry has been completely turned on its head. The flywheel of ever more hyper processed, high calorie, moreish ‘junk’ food has ground to a halt. With dwindling appetites, the allure of the drivethru just isn’t there anymore. Fast food chains have re-imagined their menus to tempt consumers to spend their lower calorie budgets at their establishments, but the chokehold has been broken.

Early casualties Dunkin Donuts and Domino’s pizza were too slow to respond to the change in demand and folded by late 2027. Share prices of Burger King, Subway and Starbucks have been in steady decline but all are hanging on by providing new smaller portion, nutrient dense menu options including juices, soups, and smoothies.

Consumers are increasingly looking to maximize their nutritional intake from the calories they consume, and healthy convenience offerings like Daily Harvest, HelloFresh and other meal kit providers are reaping the benefits.

Previously a non-starter, the idea of ‘food in a pill’ is finally gaining traction. With appetites taking a dive, eating is increasingly utilitarian and a growing number of the ‘nouveau skinny’ are choosing to get their required daily nutrition and vitamins in the form of a convenient cocktail of pills.

The question no-one can answer is: What are the long-term effects of continuing to take these new-generation weight-loss drugs? What happens when the world stops taking them? How long before the skinny bubble bursts?

Warning: Hazardous thinking at work

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