• France's news in English

Junk food on the rise in French schools

Dan MacGuill · 20 Mar 2013, 16:40

Published: 20 Mar 2013 16:40 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

For countless years, France has had a reputation for its wholesome cuisine and balanced diet, but the next generation of French diners might be likely to have a penchant for waffles or frites than haricots verts and mangetout.

“Junk food has installed itself in primary and secondary schools, and is developing,” says a study from consumer group UFC-Que Choisir (UFC What to choose).

In light of the fact that 18 percent of French children are obese or overweight, the organization said it was “a disturbing discovery” to find that school cafeterias were increasingly offering pizza, waffles and fizzy drinks next to traditional lunch items.

The study examined the lunch menus of 600 school cafeterias around France, looking for a balance between seven different types of food; raw vegetables, desserts containing raw fruit, cooked vegetables, starchy foods, dairy products, red meat (not minced), and fish.

In 48 of the 600 schools traditional canteens were found to be competing with rival stalls offering fast-food.

UFC-Que Choisir’s study comes after a decree in July 2011 ordering school cafeterias to ensure nutritional balance in the menus, with a particular emphasis on offering five fruits and vegetables a day, and serving up less fat, salt and sugar.

And it's not just in French schools that junk food is proving to be popular tucker.

At the beginning of March, a separate report found that for the first time in history fast food sales in France had overtaken traditional culinary outlets.

Story continues below…

“In the land of gastronomy, fast food has become the king,” wrote French magazine Le Point. 

The report also revealed the French are the second biggest consumers of pizza in the world after the US.

Dan MacGuill (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available