Fast food prospers as consumers loosen belts

Stephan Shakespeare
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WHILE the recession continues to claim casualties from a variety of sectors, others are finding that an economic downturn has boosted business. One of the sectors whose BrandIndex scores have notably risen is fast food.<br /><br />As usual, we have created a &ldquo;basket&rdquo; of brands (Burger King, Domino&rsquo;s, KFC, McDonald&rsquo;s, Pizza Hut and Wimpy). For comparison, we also have High Street banks (Abbey, Barclays, Co-operative Bank, HSBC, Lloyds TSB and Natwest), and supermarkets (all seventeen on BrandIndex, from Aldi to Iceland to Waitrose.) The first graph shows &ldquo;buzz&rdquo;, and the second the overall Index score.<br /><br />Fast Food brands have seen the greater increase in scores. Over the period shown, both &ldquo;buzz&rdquo; and index scores improved by five points. As consumers have had to tighten their belt financially, it appears that they are happy to loosen it for food.<br /><br /><strong>NEW SPEAKER</strong><br />Meanwhile, in Westminster, politicians showed that it is truly &ldquo;their&rdquo; Parliament and not &ldquo;ours&rdquo;, by choosing John Bercow for Speaker (polls showed that Ann Widdecombe was the public&rsquo;s favourite).<br /><br />There is supposed to be a tradition that the Speaker is unopposed at elections, but this is not strictly true: the past few Conservative speakers have in fact been opposed by Labour and others. Bercow of course has been exposed as a &ldquo;flipper&rdquo; who has now repaid significant sums from the tax gains thereby achieved.<br /><br />If he now turns out to be a lame reformer, siding with MP privilege rather than the public disgust, my guess is that Bercow will find himself with a serious challenge from a populist, as he would make a very good symbol for Parliament v The People. In the current mood, it would not surprise me if such a challenge were successful.<br /><br />Stephan Shakespeare is co-founder and chief innovation officer of YouGov