By thinking of France, someone considers often automatically its famous cuisine.
France is one of the countries that is often referred to when considering a country with a rich food culture. French people have always been proud of it. They are known for their sophisticated kitchen, their creativity in pastries as well as fresh fruits, veg- etables, herbs and grains grown in the fertile soil of the country. Furthermore, France is well known for its best wines in the world. Internationally, French restaurants have the image of their refined way of cooking with high quality ingredients and also high prices. Food is one of the great passions of the French. A person’s diet often reflects the French heritage and social status (RICHTER 2011, ADVAMEG 2015). At the same time the country still undergoes a fast food boom and was currently identified as the second biggest fast food market in the world only outranked by the United States (SAID 2013). The following paper addresses aspects of the French food cul- ture focusing on fast food. Additionally, the French food culture regarding fast food will be compared to the status quo in Germany.
Typically, the French consume three meals a day including breakfast, lunch and dinner, which is normally after eight a clock at night. Breakfast usually includes baguette, croissants, fruits, yogurt and coffee. According to personal observations and interviews especially young people often skip their meal in the morning. Lunch is the most important meal of the day. Very common for school lunches are baguette sandwiches with cheese, meat and vegetables. Dinners often take place in normal restaurants or at home with people cooking on their own. The most famous and typical foods in France are baguettes as well as baguette sandwiches (cold or warm like Croque Monsieur), Crêpes (thin pancakes), Escargots (snails), Quiche au Saumon et Crevettes (salmon and shrimp quiches), Mousse au Chocolate (chocolate mousses), Soupe a L’Oignon (ognion soup), Foie Gras (liver) and Fromage (cheese boards). Moreover the cuisine varies among the regions of France. While crêpes with cider is more common in Brittany the coastal population enjoys variety of seafood including mussels, oysters, shrimps and squid (ADVAMEG 2015).
Nevertheless, it is not only the food on the table that plays an important role for the French food culture. There are other rituals, which accompany the consumption of a meal. According to studies, 80% of meals are taken in a social context. To eat together is traditionally considered as one strong constant. A good meal is the most appreciated while sharing it with good company. To enjoy meals with others also leads to a great pressure. For example, if one is diverging from the common dishes, this person might have to explain him or herself. That means there is little room for extra preferences like vegetarian or gluten-free food (ADVAMEG 2015).
Although people in France are very passionate about their food culture, it is fact that the daily diet especially of young people includes fast food meals and food that is considered to be unhealthy. Sandwiches, pizza, burgers and chips are common daily components of their meals. That is supported by several studies about eating habits within the country. Whereas in the 60s 20% of under 25 year olds consumed snacks like crisps on a regular basis that number was doubled in 2010 (CHEMIN 2014). Considering those forms of diets, it is not surprising that there is an increasing obesity rate in the country following the American trend. If nothing changes there will be as much obese and overweighed people by 2020 as in the biggest fast food market of the world, the United States. At the moment, an increase of 17% in childhood obese is evident. In total, 42% of the French population suffer from overweight. However with regional differences. The highest percentage can be found in the northern Nord-Pas-de-Calais with 51% of overweighed people (RICHTER 2011). Furthermore, there is a trend that meals are taken more and more individually. However this is a small tendency. Conviviality in connection to consuming a meal is still an important value, even in fast food restaurants. Instead of take-away food, it can be observed that people prefer sitting together in groups while eating in fast food restaurants (ADVAMEG 2015).
Traditionally, Germans count the three meals as well: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Still, it can be said that in reality, particularly the younger generation, has sometimes no fixed pattern and no fixed times for eating. The German way of taking meals might be more flexible than in France. Typical German foods are for example Spätzle (noodle specialty), Wurst (sausage), Rinderrouladen (rolled beef), Schnitzel (crumbed fried veal meat), Eintopf (stew), Bratkartoffeln (fried potatoes), Sauerkraut (pickled cabbage) and Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (cherry cream cake) (see figure 2). Besides that, Germany is famous for its beer culture. Thousands of beer brands are competing in very region-based markets.
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- Sophia Antipolis Campus (France); SKEMA Business School
- Food Food Culture Fast Food France Germany obesity problem McDonalds Burger King