Économie et Statistique n° 400 From the Closure of Companies to Employee Mobility - The First Seven Years of Working Life of Young People without Qualifications: State Employment Measures - The French Evening Meal: Eating Habits Remain Synchronised
The French Evening Meal: Eating Habits Remain Synchronised
The Emploi du Temps surveys carried out by Insee in 1986 and 1998 allow us to examine the importance given to the evening meal by the French and how it fits in with other evening activities. The survey found that the evening meal, listed as the main evening activity by the majority of those surveyed, takes place at more or less the same time across France : there is a strong synchronisation of eating habits. In comparing orders of evening activities similarities arise, both with regard to the evening meal and its related activities; it is thus possible to distinguish the different organisation of evening activities according to social group. Women and men's evening activities differ greatly, with women spending more time preparing the evening meal. Television schedules seem to influence the time of the evening meal. Older people generally have their evening meal earlier than other people, as do lesser qualified people and those on the lowest incomes. The time of the evening meal is also influenced by the day of the week, with meals lasting longer and people going out to eat more on a Saturday night. There was little change in the behaviour of the French between 1986 and 1998 with regard to the organisation of evening activities and the importance given to the evening meal. Contrary to the argument that the traditional meal structure is breaking down, this study highlights the stability of the evening meal and the importance of meal times in contemporary France.