The French Consumer

18 Nov

Let’s describe the French consumers and define some of the main characteristics and expectations they have regarding their dining experiences.

Everybody knows that the French are very proud and narcissistic of their culinary tradition; Michelin is the “Bible” of French cuisine for diners, and classifies the best establishments for fine dining, with rankings and grades. The new French approach to cooking and food presentation appeared in 1973; it is called Nouvelle Cuisine, and is characterized by lighter, more delicate dishes and an increased emphasis on presentation (freedom to surprise). The fear of loss and the globalization have created this new passion in gastronomy.

The French began to change their eating habits towards the mid 1960s’; they truly began to see a need to eat in a hurry, as they had to adapt to new patterns of societal norms. Even though the French could potentially accept fast food, quality and excellence had to be at the order of the day. In fact, the eruption of diseases like the Mad Cow in Europe proved an opportunity to learn more about the discriminate taste of the French: they increasingly went organic as fears over these diseases, and US-style fast food raised new awareness about eating habits. This shift in French consumers’ behavior helps to explain why McDonald’s France opened its doors to the media during this particular time to make visits to their kitchens: they wanted to reassure their clientele that they were being proactive regarding the potential dangers of these diseases.

In many cases, the consumption of fast food product is the result of a response to the moment of consumption (it all depends on the present need). For instance, a corporate executive at La Defense might be able to take a quick sandwich at a nearby outlet, but take his kids to McDonald’s on Saturday to spend time with them.


From “Nouvelle Cuisine” approach…..


….. to the Fast Food trend.


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