Sandwich and Snack Show in Paris - the latest trends in snacking!

When Patricia posted a comment a couple of weeks ago telling me about the "Sandwich & Snack Show", I was intrigued because snacking is a relatively new concept in Europe. Frequently named as the cause of obesity in the United States, snacking has more often been viewed with suspicion than as something to promote. So, there was no way that I was going to miss this event even though it meant dashing out to the convention center at Porte de Versailles Thursday morning before meeting a friend for lunch near the Louvre. I'll have to plan better next year because I would have happily sampled more donuts, sandwiches, bagels, pancakes and sushi if I hadn't already arranged to eat a "proper" meal.

With more than 300 exhibitors from 65 different countries and an estimated 12,000 visitors, snackable food, described as nourishment that is easily eaten even while standing or in motion, is seen as a model of virtue by the younger generation, who prefer to consume their food more quickly than their parents. According to the information in the press kit, French people eat the same proportion of take-away food as Americans, but the products are very different. Take a look at the photos and let me know what you think!

While I've never seen pizza vending machines in the United States

or crepes made with sprinkle on flavors like apricot, strawberry, coconut and honey, 

I've noticed that bagels are becoming more popular in Paris. 

Even though the display case full of donuts looked reassuringly familiar, I did have to question why they were serving the pancakes on the top shelf with jam rather than maple syrup.

63% of the sandwiches sold in France are currently made using a baguette and two out of three are made with cheese and/or meat, such as ham. If the 2012 winners of the DeliFrance Sandwich World Cup are any indication, ingredients like marinated sardines, confit tomatoes and lotus root may change the way we think about what we put on our bread. Held in conjunction with the "Sandwich and Snack Show", the sandwiches created by the international candidates are judged on the basis of 5 criteria: practical aspect, aesthetic qualities, originality of the recipe, nutritional balance, cost price less than €2.

As I would prefer buying sweet potatoes that are rich in fiber and vitamins rather than donuts from my local grocery store, I was pleased to see Chef Martial hard at work at the stand for the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission.

Many thanks to Patricia for telling me about the "Sandwich and Snack Show". It was a delectable treat! Please let me know if you hear about something interesting that's happening in Paris. I truly do appreciate it.


  1. Hurray for North Carolina! In the county one over from where I grew up, they produce purple sweet potatoes too--rather unusual.

    What exactly does the pizza machine do? And does it deliver in 30 minutes or less, or it's free? I just can't imagine.

    Remember Automats in the States? I don't really, they were just before my time but they didn't really change the convenience of food, or rather, the convenience itself changed. Maybe the pizza making machine will change the way we buy quick pizza. We have the Homemade Pizza company here, where you pick an uncooked pizza up to cook at home--seems more trouble than it's worth actually.

    And I can't buy a cold pancake--they must be hot from the griddle. No microwaving. But I don't mind the jam with them, although yes, syrup is my first choice but sometimes jam is a nice alternative. And sweeter.

    Now to finish my cheese danish from the bakery and wonder what other high carb content I can eat today.

    Oh, and those velo-bicycles--one will need one of them after eating so much.

    1. Purple sweet potatoes? I wonder if that's what they use to make those vegetable chips. Do you use it the same way that you use an orange sweet potato?

      I wish that I would have had more time to study the pizza machines, but it seems that they make hot or cold pizzas. Perhaps they're for small villages that don't have Italian restaurants or for rest stops along the highway or convenience stores.

      As far as delivery service, I spent a bit of time talking with a guy about his restaurant delivery service. There are a surprising number of motorcycles and small cars that zip around delivering food to Parisians. The pizza delivery guy makes regular stops at my neighbor's apartment. I know because he always used to ring our bell by mistake.

      Pancakes are a rare treat for me so I have to have them covered with maple syrup with bacon or a thick slab of country ham on the side. I love the salty sweet combination. I put jam on crepes.

      I hope you enjoyed your cheese Danish - yet one more snack that we don't have in Paris!

  2. Oh no - pancakes must have sugar and lemon! :)

  3. Well, the French Bread Fair "Europain" is going to be held from March 3 - 7 in Paris Nord: Paul and I would have loved to go there, but - as often in life - other things are currently more urgent/important. Maybe you feel like going there for us and take some pictures?
    I was surprised to read about the price of only 2 euros per sandwich and I wonder what kind of quality you'd get at this cheap price?!

    1. Even though I would really prefer to go to the French Bread Fair with Paul and you, I'll definitely go and take photos if I'm not in Boston. Thanks for telling me about it! Can I say that I work for you? ;) One of the first questions that they asked at the Snack Fair was if I'm a professional because they wanted to know if I was a viable customer for their products.

      I found the 2 euro cost of producing a sandwich to be interesting, especially because that means that the markup must be quite high. If you want to see more facts and figures about sandwiches, there was lots of information in the press kit.

  4. Bonjour Mary Kay
    as usual a great read. Just curious of how it is possible to have the words pizza and "artisanale" together when it comes from a machine (-:
    just wondering!!

    1. Ha - good point! Maybe it's possible if you make the slot of the machine look like a brick oven! Or maybe they have French elves, like the Keebler elves, baking pizza inside the machine. ;)

  5. Thanks for alerting us to some of the alarming trends (the pizza vending machine for one) you saw at the Sandwich and Snack Show! Let's hope the hot dog vending machine will not make its way to France anytime soon...

    In a recent blog, you mentioned going to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Did you catch the exhibit "Les Histoires de Babar?" Might that be the subject of a future posting?

    Regards, Patricia H

    1. Thanks again for telling me about the Snack Fair so that I could learn about these alarming trends. Hopefully, we won't see the pizza vending machine in Paris any time soon. I imagine that it's aimed at small villages that don't have Italian restaurants. At least I hope so. And believe it or not, I would love to have a good hotdog! It's one of the first things that I eat when I'm back in the States.

      The tour at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs that I did was called French 17th Century Interiors. You're right, I should go to the Babar exhibition. Our children used to watch Babar every morning when they were small.

  6. A snack show - what a brilliant invention! Bagels haven't made it to Creuse yet and I'm not sure lotus root sandwiches will catch on here either. Not that we're old fashioned or anything.
    A fascinating and hunger-inducing post, Mary, thank you!

    1. Even though bagels have made it to Paris, I was surprised to learn that the French don't like red onions on them. A bagel with Philadelphia cream cheese (also at the snack fair), smoked salmon and red onions is one of my favorites - and I'll skip the lotus root on top!

  7. Next thing you know, snacking on the street will be okay! (I wouldn't mind, I always feel like I'm bringing shame on my family by running out of the house with my breakfast in the morning.) PS - abricot, you've gone over to the dark side!

  8. Don't worry, Gwan, I also bring shame on my family by eating while walking down the street on a regular basis. I've even noticed more and more people eating on the metro (gasp!)

    And what's worse about going over to the dark side is that I didn't even notice that I had spelled apricot the French way. I'm off to correct it right now (or should that be tout de suite?!).


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