Sunday, November 20, 2011

The French love their MacDo! Si, si, hélas!

We just came back from having Phở  (a Vietnamese soup with meat/seafood (but when seafood, then it's not called a Phở)) for lunch and as we were slurping through our rice noodles and broth, we realized that it was cheaper (and healthier !) to have a large bowl of Pho (served with bean sprouts, Thai basil, onions, chilis, etc) than having a Cheeseburger & Fries at a local MacDo. 
That reminded me about a post I read a few days ago. Although it is in French and most of you might not understand it (sorry), I thought it was worse sharing with you. The first picture (above) shows the density of MacDo in the US. The second one (right) is the same but for France. Worse to read (at least to me) is that there are actually more MacDo restaurants in France than in the US (1,77 fast-food restaurants per 1 000 km2 in France, against 1,3 in the US). Sure enough, the US being so much bigger than France (Texas alone is 1 1/4 times bigger than France), as the first picture showed, there are places in the West of the US where density is scarce. It would have therefore been more accurate to compare a part of the US that would look more like France as a whole... Anyhow, that does not explain why the Pays de la Gastronomie loves their hamburgers so much!  
And yet, a few years ago, as France was embracing a national-wide awareness campaign about bad eating habits, MacDo, that was pointed at, launched their own campaign. The basic message was that Eating at MacDo once a week was OK. I thought it was really clever because they were targeting two populations 1) The people who come often : for them they were warning them that it would be best for them not to come more than once a week 2) The people who never go to MacDo, hinting at them that they could come to MacDo once a week and be OK...   You could also understand it this way:  the food you eat at MacDo is not bad, it's your eating habits that might be!!   Sure enough the Menu is slightly healthier in a French MacDo than in an American one (they even sell Organic fruit juices or Organic yogurts!!)... and sure enough, going there once a week assuming that all other meals are healthy and that the person exercises regularly (!!!), it would not be la fin du monde.. And yes, for most people, it's an affordable lunch-or-dining option, which, on top of that, is extremely children-friendly!!
That's not enough to make me go though (our lunch experience today with two young kids was just as pleasant!)... I just wished there were more places to get a Phở instead! Bon Appétit!

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