Two sets of questionnaires inspired from the 2009 and 2010 surveys, called the FOOD barometers, have been launched every year since 2012 to monitor the evolution of the habits and opinions of both target groups (employees and restaurants) about balanced nutrition.
In 2016, 80% of French employees had lunch on a daily basis. It was above the European average, which was of 71%. This figure has remained quite constant over the 5 years.
In 2016, French workers usually ate home-made food (48%). This figure has remained stable over the 5 years. We also notice a slight increase in the consumption of complete meals.
When choosing a restaurant, in 2016, French workers considered important or very important practical criteria linked to working life constraints such as a quick service (83%) and the location of the restaurant, which had to be close to their workplace (75%). Also, it was important/very important that tap water was served free of charge (79%) and that the restaurant served affordable/cheap food (77%).
In 2016, 72% of French workers considered important or very important that the restaurant proposes meals of good nutritional quality, which shows that French employees give importance to eating healthy when choosing a restaurant to have lunch at. This figure was close to the European average in 2016, which was of 77%. Apart from a peak in 2014 and a drop in 2013, the share of French workers considering important of very important the nutritional quality of the meals offered when choosing a restaurant for lunch has remained quite constantly significant over the years, showing the attention paid to balanced eating among them.
In 2016, close to half of French employees (45%) took into account the balance of the dish when choosing what to have at lunch, right after what they wanted at the present time (66%) and the price (65%).
Apart from a drop in 2015, the balance of the dish was therefore among the three main criteria that affected French workers’ decision-making on what to have at lunch and has remained close to 50% all over the 5 years. It shows that a very significant share of French employees give importance to the balanced of their dish when choosing what to have at lunch.
In 2016, 49% of French restaurants declared that they had a medium knowledge about balanced nutrition and could learn some more. 40% of them declared that they had a high level of knowledge on the topic, and this share had never been that high over the 5 years.
In 2016, only 13% of French restaurants declared noticing an increased demand for balanced/healthy meals. It was much lower than the European average (36%). This figure has been quite constant over the 5 years.
In 2016, restaurants in France had quite positive opinions about cooking healthy meals. 62% of them disagreed or strongly disagreed that it was more difficult, 54% that it took more time to cook balanced meals, and 50% that it was more expensive. These figures have been quite constant over the 3 first years, and there has then been an increase in the share of restaurants disagreeing with the negative statements that cooking healthy meals is more expensive and more difficult. This shows therefore a trend towards less prejudices about cooking healthy meals in France.
A significant share of French employees give importance to the balance of their dish but it is not reflected in the restaurants’ perception of their customers. On the other hand, a growing share of French restaurants owners declare that they have a good knowledge on balanced nutrition, or that they have a medium knowledge and could learn more, showing a growing interest for the topic. Plus, they do not have strong prejudices about cooking healthy meals.