The study - a 20-minute online quantitative survey of 1,182 French individuals aged between 18 and 64 coupled with a qualitative evaluation - was carried out last year by the 'Observatoire du Snacking', created by Mondelez.
It identified five profiles of French snackers.
‘Appetizers’, who number 12%, eat snacks as part of an aperitif. ‘In a hurry’ eaters (12%) snack instead of eating meals and tend to be young. Big snackers (15%), who tend to be women, snack for pleasure and to relax. Fifteen percent of respondents preferred to snack during the mid-morning coffee break at work while solitary snackers (33%) eat in between meals and usually at home.
A spokesperson for Mondelez said the aim of the Snacking Observatory was to understand the evolution of French snacking eating habits, focusing on in-between meals and meals replacement, and "the challenges of a responsible and sustainable consumption of Mondelez food products in all French households".
Contributing researcher Thibaut de Saint Pol said: "Snacking in France does not lead to the breakdown of traditional meals, which continue to flourish. It seems to contribute today to structuring new rituals of consumption, often built as meals, with rules, but also moments of leisure or sociability.”
French national dietary guidelines advise people not to eat between meals and adverts for food and drink are followed by government messages, one of which is ‘For your health, avoid snacking.’
“The emergence of these new food rituals is particularly related to changes in our rhythms and our lifestyles," added de Saint Pol.
The most popular snacks are afternoon tea (43.5%), aperitif (42.2%) and a mid-morning snack (34.4%) and 88% of snacks “provided satisfaction”, it found.
Mathias Dosne, managing director for France at Mondelez International, said nine out of ten French households consume biscuits, chocolates and confectionery made by the manufacturer. "This is a sign of great consumer confidence and gives us a responsibility as a company."
According to the spokesperson, Mondelez is on a drive to make its portfolio healthier. In 10 years, it has reduced by 45% the saturated fatty acids contained in the Prince de LU biscuits and added 15% whole grain. In 2018, it also reduced salt in the Oreo brand by 17% and saturated fatty acids by 43%, said the spokesperson.