The French remain firmly attached to the traditional food model, based on symbiosis and symbiosis (the fact of sharing meals with others), and they prefer variety and regular meals, in three courses (appetizer, main course, dessert). But, far from being static, their daily practices change with the destruction of work rhythms and the arrival of a new generation that is hyper-knit, nomadic, and attentive to changes in society.
This Generation Z, born after 1995, is breaking the paradigm of three structured meals a day, preferring snacks: they skip starters (it’s only found in 17% of their meals), they consume less cheese (only in 30% of their meals) but keep going in enjoying sweets (67%). The meal often tends to be appetizing.
Another surprising finding: being away from home accounts for nearly a third of consumption occasions, Zs are more likely to snack between meals than the previous generation (74% for Zs vs. 66% for Ys), and they are looking for “ready-to-eat” solutions adapted to their nomadic lifestyle (58% for Zs compared to 40% for Ys). Confinement periods and curfews have increased this trend, with 73% of young people admitting to eating more snacks since the beginning of the health crisis.
between “snack” and “healthy food”
Outside the home, young people say they like to eat fast food, while adults from previous generations speak more readily of classic restaurants. With a well-established gastronomic culture, it may seem surprising that France is the second country to serve fast food after the United States. But it must be remembered that fast food has an undeniable social function, providing opportunities to meet and socialize, with offers at moderate prices.
The desire to break free from the family paradigm contributes to the promotion of fast food. Young people, especially teenagers, are known to be the most exposed to marketing in this industry: 60% of television ads and 20% of online ads are for food products, half of which display a Nutri-Score D or E.
We know that teens are attracted to sugary, fatty, and high-calorie foods, which quickly bring them a sense of well-being, via the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the reward circuitry.
But apart from this attraction to manufactured products, the younger generation is also a committed generation. So he is influenced by the discourse about short circuits, fresh produce. Part of it is drawn to the new “free” diets (gluten-free, added sugars, nitrite-free, additive-free, gluten-free …) or flexible diets (avoiding meat), to save the planet.
For 95% of young people, being healthy depends on a healthy diet. Nicknamed the “Power Generation” in the US, a segment of the youth, representing 30% of the population, will turn their backs on traditional burgers and fast food to advocate for homemade sandwiches and quality snacks. Membership has become a major trend among young people. According to a study by Agence Bio, young people relate to it for ethical and social reasons (37%) and animal welfare (32%).
The youths were forced to spend more time at home during periods of confinement, and they began (re)cooking, but in an easy and shared way. A study of people ages 18-24 estimates that a home-cooked appetizer outperforms an appetizer (37% vs. 15%). Almost 50% of young people have engaged in an aperitif during confinement (compared to 30% of all French people) and more than one in two (57%) intend to continue this practice that could be well-established in their daily lives.
This desire to learn to cook together includes buying cookware, “discovery” baskets designed for cooking on your own at home, or online group lessons (like the relationship with culinary experiences service, Kweezine).
The rise of flexibility
If the meat-free diet, which is still marginal in France, is developing among the population as a whole, it is young people who are turning to it the most. According to a survey conducted by FranceAgriMer in 2018, 12% of people between the ages of 18 and 23 said they were vegetarian, compared to 2% of those over 55 – for 5.2% of French people in all; It was 0.7% in 1998, according to a study by the Research Center for the Study and Observation of Living Conditions (Crédoc).
But above all, adherence to the principle of reducing meat consumption, known as “flexibility”, which is widely spread among young people. According to this same survey, 44% of people between the ages of 18 and 24 said they would be willing to reduce their meat consumption, which is twice as high as those over 55. By implementing a commitment against climate change, resilience is a sign of young people who are becoming more sensitive to the environment.
Even if it is from generation to generation, this rise of resilience is also socially noticeable: among the young, the richest and most urban tend to take the leap more than others. The students, whose parents are CEOs or are self-employed, are the ones who cut back on their meat consumption the most. This may explain why resilience is particularly present among students, among whom 73% stated that they have reduced their consumption of meat and fish or are willing to do so, while 11% have already switched to a vegetarian diet.
The flexitarisme, the vegetarisme, the veganisme… Toutes ces nouvelles pratiques alimentaires, which innovated and rompent with the conformisme alimentaire of parents, ne sont qu’une facette d’un engagement more large des jeunes au quotidien, for the sustainable development of planet.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
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