One Bite At A Time: American Fast-Food Giants Reshaping France’s Culinary Landscape

One Bite At A Time: American Fast-Food Giants Reshaping France's Culinary Landscape

One Bite At A Time: American Fast-Food Giants Reshaping France's Culinary Landscape. Image: antioniodiaz / Shutterstock.com.

Step aside, traditional French cuisine, as a fast food revolution sweeps across the culinary landscape, echoing historic moments akin to the impactful landings of Omaha Beach.

In a mere decade, an armada of American culinary giants has made its mark on the hexagon: Steak’n’shake (2014), Five Guys (2016), Carl’s Jr (2018), Popeye’s (2023), and the latest entrant, the doughnut virtuoso Krispy Kreme.

This culinary insurgence signals a departure from the historical norm, where the arrival of an American powerhouse was a rare event.

The cadence has quickened dramatically, mirroring a profound metamorphosis in French gastronomy.

McDonald’s first graced France in 1979, followed by KFC in 1991, and the triumphant return of Burger King in 2012.

Burger fever has swept through France, with sales surging fourteen-fold in the last decade, according to Bernard Boutboul, president of Gira Conseil and an expert in the realm of catering.

However, the fast-food dominion has seen its stranglehold on the French burger market loosen, receding from 95 per cent in 2008 to a still formidable 70 per cent in 2023.

The trend has spilt over into traditional restaurants, with 80 per cent of them now boasting their unique take on the classic burger.

The chicken saga mirrors this success, with consumption climbing by 5 per cent between 2021 and 2022, solidifying France’s stature as the European epicentre of poultry appreciation.

On average, the French now consume a staggering amount of chickens, amounting to more than 28 kg per person per year.

Enter Krispy Kreme, the latest contender in this gastronomic spectacle, enchanting taste buds with its delightful doughnuts.

These sweet indulgences are infiltrating bakeries and Starbucks, and even carving out a place in popular culture, from Homer Simpson’s escapades to featured appearances in various TV series, as observed by Clémentine Hugol-Gential.

Beyond altering eating habits, this American culinary influx is crafting a seismic shift, redefining the very essence of French gastronomic culture.

The fusion of these international flavours is not merely a change in cuisine; it’s a culinary renaissance, a melting pot of traditions that is reshaping the French culinary identity.

Sip Savvy

For some, it’s a morning ritual, for others, an alternative to alcohol in the evening.

Fruit juice accompanies the daily lives of the French from morning until late in the evening.

Tropicana, owned by PepsiCo, secures the top spot in French favourites, followed by Joker, a nearly century-old French company, in second place.

Andros claims the third position, while Coca-Cola Company brands Innocent and Minute Maid occupy the fourth and fifth spots, showcasing the diverse choices gracing glasses throughout the day.

On the lookout

French construction supplier Saint-Gobain, led by CEO Benoit Bazin, is actively pursuing acquisitions beyond Europe to enhance its environmentally friendly materials portfolio.

With plans to become the company’s chair next year, Bazin aims to expand into North America, Asia, and emerging markets, following a €7B acquisition spree in the past five years.

Known for manufacturing materials like skyscraper glass, Saint-Gobain divests less profitable divisions while investing significantly in environmentally conscious initiatives, including chemicals used by cement makers to reduce emissions, aligning with its sustainability commitment.

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 19 years. She is passionate about her animal family including four dogs and four horses, musicals and cooking.

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