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The burger, an economic success at the price of an environmental stalemate


The burger, an economic success at the price of an environmental stalemate

Paris (AFP)

Forty years after the arrival of the American brand McDonald's in France, the burger has won an enviable place in the menus of the French, but it has nonetheless become, for critics, the emblem of a little sustainable diet and a waste of resources.

Alongside the main American brands - McDonald's, Burger King, Quick, KFC - there are now many "micro-brands" recent burger (Mythic Burger, Factory & Co, Speed ​​Burger ...) and independent, observes Maria Bertoch, expert of catering at NPD Group.

In addition the burger has "earned its acclaim in all catering at the table," she notes: it is "à la carte" restaurants of all types: brasseries, steakhouses, restaurants with mixed European cuisine .. It is a universal product that appeals to all generations, easy to prepare for chefs, always fashionable.

In ten years, the burger supply has been multiplied by three, to represent last year 9% of catering (against 3% in 2008) and 6.5 billion euros in turnover, an increase of 14% over the period. With an average ticket passed at 7.30 euros last year, an increase of 20% in ten years, according to NPD Group.

At the same time, the rest of the restoration, which has been affected by "the 2009 crisis and the 2015 attacks, has simply returned to its pre-crisis level," Bertoch analyzes.

Thus, for the giant McDonald's, the French subsidiary is the most lucrative of all. A success that is based on "an original offer combining references to French culture and our American origin" and "innovative services: table service, home delivery, loyalty program, order online", according to the company hexagonal .

The brand, which operates 1,470 restaurants in France, prides itself on contributing to the activity of 40,000 French farmers and breeders with 715 million euros of food purchased in 2019, or three quarters of its supplies.

- "All disposable" -

For critics, however, the burger remains the emblem of an unsustainable diet, with disastrous environmental impact because encouraging the production of meat through intensive farming, very consumer of soil and water.

"The burger is symptomatic of the growth, since the 60s, of a consumption of meat become daily in the developed countries, which resulted in production methods very harmful for the environment", affirms to the AFP Cyrielle Denhartigh , responsible for agriculture and food within Réseau Action Climat.

"You really have to go backwards, reorient all agricultural support towards more sustainable models and quality production, halve the consumption of meat," she says.

In addition, the burger is the emblem of a fast food industry where there is a "disposable whole" that generates mass waste: 180,000 tons of packaging and 60,000 tons of food waste a year, says Thibault Turchet, a lawyer who Zero Waste Association.

It filed a complaint in October 2018 against two restaurants in Paris McDonald's and KFC for "no sorting of waste room".

"Between the disposable and the lack of sorting, waste ends up in landfills and incineration plants, with the key to air pollution, a waste of resources and a significant cost for public infrastructure" Mr. Turchet told AFP.

"Signs are lightening the weight of packaging by a few grams, but none is moving towards abandoning the disposable, which remains the most profitable, while recyclable packaging and composting of food waste could be developed," he adds. -he.

In June, under pressure from the government, McDonald's, KFC, Burger King, Starbucks and Domino's Pizza, among others, pledged to comply in three years with the obligation to sort waste, so far largely ignored in the sector, because of " the great disparity of collection and recovery solutions available from one site to another ", according to McDonald's.

© 2019 AFP

Source: france24

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