Thursday, 3 January 2008

Pulp Fiction

Sometimes I wonder what planet the people who carry out market research inhabit. A new survey claims 45 per cent of Britons admitted a fondness for fast-food while only 19 per cent of French admitted liking what they like to call "malbouffe" (rubbish food). I think someone should tell the researchers the key word here is not the 'f' one - or even 'f-f' ones - but the 'a' one as in "admitted".

Apparently they asked 9,000 people in 13 countries if they liked fast food "too much to give it up?" I have no idea who the researchers asked or what food they cited; "fast food" covers a multitude of culinary offerings from quick-fried crickets rustled up on a Phnom Penh pavement to parathas and samosas on the streets of Delhi. Did they take cultural differences into account or did they ask everyone from Hong Kong to Brazil via Romania and the Czech Republic if they could not give up "burgers, pizza and wings" or "fish and chips", the only fast foods cited on the research company's website?

France's McDonald's restaurants do more business than those in any other European country, including the UK. A recent survey, by McDonald's claimed nearly half the French population had visited one of its restaurants in the past 12 months. True, this research was carried out by McDonald's but I wonder if it is any less scientific than this latest survey?

So British people admitted they like fast food a lot and the French claimed they do not. What a surprise. The French have a different attitude and approach to food to the British and it is true, on the whole they do eat better. But they also like fast food; they like burgers, they even like Le Big Mac judging by the number they eat. They just do not like to admit it.

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