1:28pm

Tue June 21, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Men With Social Media Savvy Love Their Fast Food

It may not come as a shock that young men are frequent, loyal customers of fast-food restaurants. Somebody's buying those super-sized meals and double cheeseburgers, and the restaurants know who.

But what may come as a surprise is that these guys are willing to dish to a social media survey company about how many packets of Taco Bell hot sauce they have stashed away, and how often they go to McDonald's just for the fries.

Those are just a couple of the questions posed in a recent survey of 18- to 35-year-old men conducted by Lab42 on Facebook. The quirky Chicago startup taps into the world of social media for info that often takes traditional survey shops a whole lot longer to gather.

In the survey of 500 men who say they've eaten at fast-food restaurants in the last three months, 34 percent said McDonald's is king overall. And 56 percent said McDonald's fries are best.

Are these guys making healthful food choices? Not so much. Sixty-two percent, for instance, said they preferred KFC's crispy fried chicken to grilled. And the most frequent eaters — those who ate fast food seven or more times a week — reported being overweight.

Why exactly did Lab42 do the survey? "I wish I could say there was a really good reason," Laura Rokita, a vice president at Lab42, tells Shots. Everybody in the office was just chatting about hot sauce and straws in the office one day, she says.

How'd they do it? They worked with ad companies on social networking sites, and offered rewards, like more points in games like Farmville, to those who answered the call.

What's up next on Lab42's agenda? Teens and texting.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.