Futuribles Journal n° 372

Société, modes de vie

The Development of Cooking and Eating Habits in France: Emerging Trends and Potential Change


In February Céline Laisney began an analysis of food in France and its possible future development, outlining the major trends in cooking and eating habits. In this second article, she sets out to complete that analysis, focusing on emerging trends and potential changes that may modify French patterns of cooking and eating in future years.

Among these trends Laisney stresses, first, the rise of the importance of labels – with the emergence of the organic sector (spreading now to the wider population), the return to local produce, halal food, the concern for animal welfare and also carbon labelling. She shows also that this vogue for labelling can lead to an excess of information and a crisis of confidence among consumers about the information imparted. She analyses what is still the essential role of the “pleasure” dimension in food in France, which can collide with “health” arguments and the rise of a certain medicalization of food. She comes then to the role of age and the generational factors that may reinforce an emerging trend: namely, the destructuring of cooking and eating practices that is beginning to be seen among young French people. Among possible radical changes, Céline Laisney considers here a possible anti-“good nutritional behaviour” reaction (rejection of organic or healthy eating styles) and a more widespread vegetarianism or, at least, a lesser consumption of meat. That being said, these emerging changes are not necessarily mutually exclusive and probably do not herald the end of the French model. They are, rather, the mark of a multiple sense of identity which affects cooking and eating behaviour as it does other spheres and which should find expression, in the longer term, in a certain fragmentation of consumption patterns.

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