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The afternoon snack in France - statistics & facts

In France, traditions surrounding food are both numerous and varied. Indeed, some regions develop their own culinary specialties, while other food-centered traditions are more general. One example of this is the “goûter”, a light afternoon meal eaten between lunch and dinner, at around four in the afternoon, and consisting mostly of sweet foods and a drink.

This afternoon snack time is largely targeted towards children. Indeed, four o’clock marks the end of the school day, and the goûter, taken before looking at the day’s homework, is often synonymous with pleasure and freedom. Indeed, as it can be eaten with one’s hands, sometimes on the go, the goûter is rather less formal than many standardized French eating habits (seated meals, precise times, etc.). While it traditionally consisted of a slice of bread with butter and jam, or sometimes even a pain au chocolat, nowadays, many children are eating biscuits and cakes, or industrial pastries. As a result, many companies fight for this high-earning segment, with yearly innovations and product launches. Among the leading categories in this specific market, chocolate bars generated the highest sales revenue, over 132 million euros, in 2020. Nonetheless, the cakes and biscuits segment is also non-negligible. Indeed, people in France eat an average of eight kilograms of cakes and biscuits per year, with an apparent preference for biscuits and cookies.

Naturally, the rise of snacking at any time of the day can be observed in most Western countries, not just in France. However, the defined moment of consumption is characteristic of a well-anchored tradition in French people’s consumption patterns. Another peculiarity is that the French snack is generally much sweeter than that of other countries. Nonetheless, French people are turning to, or at least interested in trying, more and more savory snacks as well.

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The afternoon snack in France

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