An exclusive trend report by Vitagora in partnership with IPSOS recommends developing an on-the-go food offer specific to the habits of French consumers
During the Forum Vitagora event in Dijon on Tuesday April 14, 2015 Vitagora revealed the results of an exclusive report carried out in partnership with IPSOS on the opportunities present for on-the-go and ready-to-eat foods, in contrast to traditional meal formats.
This report includes the results of a poll carried out in March 2015 among a representative sample of 1007 French consumers aged from 16 to 70 years. The report reveals in particular that, despite their strong attachment to a traditional meal format, snacking and on-the-go eating behaviour is taking hold among French consumers. Opportunities remain to be exploited by food businesses to develop a product offer specific to the habits of French consumers, particularly in regards to combining modern usages with well-established traditions.
A few figures from the Vitagora-IPSOS report:
- 90% of French consider that a meal should be taken at the table as often as possible
- 4 out of 10 French people eat their lunch "on-the-go" at least once a week
- 52% of French people eat "on-the-go" food products, but in their own homes
- 68%of the French consider that "good taste" is a the most important criteria for on-the-go foods
Cultural reticence confronts the reality of usage
The French cultivate a certain reticence regarding on-the-go and snacking foods, which they often associate with unhealthy snack foods, as well as regarding "real" meals and home cooking as a cultural icon. A report carried out by IPSOS in 2013 revealed that 90% pf French consider that "a meal must be eaten at the table as often as possible", while 50% pf Russians, 47% of Brazilians and 34% of Americans declare "only rarely eat at the table" (Source: Global Trends Survey, Ipsos MORI, Sept 2013).
However, in the face of this sacrosanct image of the sit-down meal, this report reveals that 4 French consumers out of 10 declare that they eat lunch "in a hurry" at least once a week, and up to 21% of them do so at least 3 times a week. This practice is in phase with the sentiment shared by a growing number of French of being pressed for time: 42% of respondants "do not have as much free time as they would like" (rising from 34% in 2006), and 53% of them declare that they eat an on-the-go meal in the place of a traditional meal "if they are in a hurry".
The choice of location: a ready-to-eat food expectation that seeks to mimic traditions
Whether in terms of the place of purchase or where the food is eaten, the French are attempting to reconcile a degree of traditionalism with modern on-the-go practices. Therefore bakeries and supermarkets remain in the lead as the favoured places of purchase for on-the-go food products (respectively 52% and 48% of respondants declared that they bought these types of products there), far ahead of drive-throughs (only 17% of respondants). It is also in their own homes or at their workplaces that French people consume these products: 52% of individuals regularly eat on-the-go food at home and 41% at their workplace, while only 15% will consume the product in the street.
Reinventing snacking for a French market?
"This report shows us that their are real opportunities for reinventing snacking for French consumers. All the conditions, lack of time for example, are aligning so that consumers are increasingly turning towards these types of products," analyses Christophe Breuillet, Director of Vitagora.
He continues : "But the term "snacking" is not really appropriate for French consumers. They expect a product offer coherent with the value they place on traditional food practices, in mimicry of a classic meal situation. It is not enough to copy anglo-saxon practices but rather to invent a new type of offer that reconciles the cultural representations of the French meal and the desire for convenience. Opportunities are thus in reach for food businesses to innovate around these evolving practices".
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