IT is not exactly good news for the Spanish food industry.
In further proof that the country is moving away from its traditional Mediterranean diet, Spain’s fast food joints are thriving despite the recession.
Turnover for the big chains grew by a whopping five per cent last year to 2.6 billion euros.
And fast food outlets rose to 3,940, a 2.2 per cent increase from 2009.
International heavyweights McDonald´s and Burger King, along with other hamburger chains, contribute 1.3 billion euros to the industry, a rise of 4.8 per cent.
Sandwich shops meanwhile enjoyed a 3.4 per cent rise, contributing 455 million euros while tacos and hot dog sales rose 3.3 per cent, bringing in 315 million euros.
Andalucia has the second largest number of fast food outlets in Spain, second only to Madrid, and includes 98 Burger Kings and 71 McDonald´s.
In 2010 McDonald´s spent 14 million euros on revamping its stores and introducing free wi-fi while Burger King has added children´s play areas to its outlets.
The Olive Press reported in March how the healthy Mediterranean diet is dying out at an alarming rate.
The Spanish Food and Nutrition Safety Agency (AESAN) has found that Spaniards are swapping olive oil, fresh salads and vegetables in favour of fast food, sweets and fizzy drinks.
The survey of 3,000 people showed only 43 per cent ate vegetables everyday and the majority were eating twice as much red meat as recommended.
It discovered that the lack of vegetables, fruit and cereals is causing binge eating and increasing cases of colon and breast cancer.
And with almost 50 per cent of Spaniards not doing any exercise, the country is seeing an obesity pandemic.
Alarmingly, over half of adults are overweight, while 27 per cent of children are obese.
President of AESAN Roberto Sabrido said: “Spaniards have turned their back on the Mediterranean diet.”
However, it’s not all bad news.
The survey found that women are eating better than men and the Spanish at least still eat around four portions of fish a week, far higher than their British counterparts.