The French art of living is not just a question of gastronomy and time spent at the table around delicate dishes. It is also convivial moments of sharing initiated by aperitifs. If the French have adjusted their consumption habits taking into account the inflationary context, they have not sacrificed the aperitif.
It is he who will officially launch the start of New Year’s Eve: the aperitif. If it logically has a very different flavor at Christmas due not only to the presence of champagne, or bubble alternatives, but above all to the festive spirit, this moment before sitting at the table is anchored as an important rite in the life of the French. No less than 69% indulge in it at least once a week, they declared to the Appinio institute for a study published exclusively by the LSA* magazine. And this is even the case for 39.8% of women, compared to 34.4% of men. Meeting around a table on Parisian terraces on Friday evening is one of the concrete cases which perfectly illustrates the way in which the aperitif is a symbol of the French art of living. We also remember how precious this particular moment was during the health crisis. Deprived of social contacts during confinements, the French reinvented it through videoconferencing.
And it is not the inflationary crisis that will quell this ritual. Nearly half of the French people concerned (94.5%) have an aperitif at home while 23.9% choose a bar or restaurant, and 10.5% an outdoor place such as a park or the surroundings of a plan of water. However, the surge in prices which further squeezed the budget for constrained spending has logically had an impact on habits. No less than 70% of those questioned and concerned had to reduce the frequency of their aperitifs taken outside. “Although 51% of French people believe that inflation has pushed them to reduce the frequency with which they usually have an aperitif, we see that it nevertheless remains a very ingrained habit in their daily life” explained to LSA the director of the Appinio institute, Jean-Yves Laffon.
NO to diets, YES to WW!
What is a French aperitif?
If it does not replace the meal to follow, according to 89.5% of French people, the composition of an aperitif does not inevitably consist of liquid products. Despite the impregnation of Bacchic culture in French eating habits, we are not satisfied with spirits or digestives (77%), but with beers or ciders (54%) and wine (42%) – to cite the the most chosen drinks, but we also consider the aperitif as a moment of snacking. 86.5% of French people consider that this moment should be fueled by little things to eat, starting with chips (41%), peanuts (23%), sausage or aperitif biscuits (20%). On average, the budget for an aperitif per guest is 12 euros.
Considered as a vector of conviviality and sharing, this moment is a way to relax and even to unwind in the opinion of the 50% who choose a glass of alcohol on this occasion. The aperitif is less an opportunity to get drunk than a time to encourage social interactions (35%). It is therefore not surprising that it can take a long time, particularly between one and two hours for 39% of French people.
*This study by the Appinio Institute for LSA magazine was carried out on a sample of 1,000 people aged 18 to 65 interviewed from October 19 to November 5, 2023.