This news didn’t hit the headlines. Journalists were more interested in the Gilets Jaunes’ grievances than in other people’s food habits. And yet, at the end of February, we learned that in 2018 and for the first time, the French have preferred to have a larger “snack break” rather than a lunch out – in a restaurant, a bakery or a café, at the office… (according to a The NPD Group study). This tarnishes the French’s reputation of discipline and respect of their three holy meals of the day. The biscuits Nutella is launching, and the spread that Milka is concocting won’t help to curb this new addiction.
For some people, it’s the sign of the economic slump and the consequential search for cheaper options to eat. For others, it’s due to the generalization of home as a workplace which has a natural tendency to destructure habits, especially breakfast and lunch, by suppressing meal times, tables and company. The development of home delivery Apps and some retailers’ new offers suggesting new food micro moments have definitely something to do with the disaffection of traditional out-of-home lunch. So is the growing awareness of the relation between health and food. This translates into more and more French fixing their own lunch boxes they’ll eat whenever they want, without needing to go to the restaurant anymore. For cultural reasons, this common practice in Northern Europe isn’t usual in France. Yet, it could develop in the coming years under the pressure of the increasing interest in the origins of products or, in some cases, the distrust in brands, and the adoption of radical changes in eating habits that lead many to quit some kinds of foods.
For now, the mentioned study informs us that the main beneficiaries of the development of snacking are brownies, donuts, muffins and cookies. Let’s hope this is just a moment of distraction.