Steven Marks, Guzman Y Gomez
Steven Marks, Guzman Y Gomez

Guzman founder says people should eat less

THE boss of one of Australia's fastest-growing restaurant chains says the days of the supersized fast food meal are numbered amid the growing obesity problem.

Guzman y Gomez founder Steven Marks said his rivals would come under increasing pressure to offer customers smaller portions with fewer calories.

"People should be eating less," said Mr Marks, whose 120-outlet Mexican chain already offers customers a mini-range on its menu. "Portion size should be the next big thing for the fast food sector. The industry has been driven by the need to be profitable but often they have lowered quality to cut prices."

The company claims to serve 100 per cent "clean food" with no added preservatives, artificial flavours, added colours or unacceptable additives. Unacceptable additives are ingredients that have been identified by the World Health Organisation as cancerous, faced large consumer backlash or have been subject to warnings in other parts of the world.

 

Steven Marks, the founder of Guzman Y Gomez
Steven Marks, the founder of Guzman Y Gomez

 

Researchers who compared data from 1995 to 2012 found portion sizes for a large proportion of Australia's most commonly consumed junk foods had risen significantly.

Pizza and cake stood out for being the worst offenders, recording a 66 per cent increase in the average number of kilojoules consumed in one sitting. A typical portion of sausage, cereal bar, processed meat, ice cream and wine also increased in size.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare two in three adults were overweight or obese in 2017-18 - 36 percent were overweight and 31 per cent were obese.

Meanwhile, 60 per cent of men and 66 per cent of women had a waist circumference that indicated high risk of medical complications. Australia also had the 8th highest proportion of overweight or obese adults aged 15 and over.

 

Guzman y Gomez burrito. Photo: Guzman y Gomez
Guzman y Gomez burrito. Photo: Guzman y Gomez

Mr Mark's call for a more healthy fast food industry comes as Guzman announces major expansion plans in Queensland including new drive-through restaurants to be opened at Helensvale, Arana Hills and Maroochydore by the end of the year.

"Queensland has changed the game for us and is one of our best markets," he said.

The company now operates 120 restaurants and drive-throughs across Australia, Singapore and Japan. It has 43 outlets in Queensland, of which 13 are drive-throughs.