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NOUVEL OBSERVATEUR (France)

Worldcrunch

PARIS – When you think of French cuisine, visions sparkle of a leisurely countryside bistro or elaborate meals conjured up by the likes of super chef Alain Ducasse. On a rainy Monday in the capital, the reality looks much more like a study just released by the consulting firm Gira Conseil that paints a decidely plainer (and faster) portrait of eating in France.

The survey focused on the continuing growth of the country’s 117 fast food companies that can qualify as chains. “We only took into account the companies with at least three open restaurants,” adds Julien Janneau, who heads consumer studies for Gira Conseil, told French magazine Nouvel Observateur.

In 2012, the fast food market grew a good 4%, “This growth is far bigger than the rest of the restaurant industry,” says director Bernard Boutboul: “The sandwich is doing even better with a 6% increase in 2012, breaking the 7 billion euro bar.”

The king of all sandwiches in France remains the classic national pride: the cheap -2.20 euros/ $2.88- and popular jambon-beurre (ham and butter), which represents a whopping 62% of all sandwiches sold, reports the Nouvel Obs.

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A fine example of the eternal "jambon-beurre" from Wikipedia

Home and food delivery is also off the charts, while food trucks are sprouting around the capital: “the trick is to keep moving wherever the client needs.”

The survey also finds French eating more and more non-French foods: for every one meal of sushi, the nation consumes 8kebabs, 23 hamburgers, 25 pizzas, 64 sandwiches and 198 plates of pasta.

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