BBC Brasil, a survey of national eating habits in 6 countries revealed some interesting changes in the eating habits of Brazilians. The survey, conducted by The Oxford Research Agency, questioned 1543 persons in Brazil, China, the USA, the UK, France and Germany about how and what they ate.
The results would seem to show some of the effects of the recent Brazilian economic boom and the increasing size of the Brazilian middle class. Of the Brazilians surveyed 33% indicated they were spending more on food than they had six months ago. This percentage was second only to China's where 48% of respondents said their expenses for food had risen. By way of contrast, in the other four countries, the amount spent on food was reduced - by 48% of respondents in the USA, 45% in the UK, 28% in France and 21% in Germany.
When questioned about eating fast-food, 25% of Brazilians replied that they ate it frequently. This percentage is similar to the fast-food habits of Americans, 28% of whom ate fast-food regularly. Surprisingly (to me at least) it was the French who were the most avid consumers of fast-food. 36% of them regularly eat Quarter-Pounders (or, for Pulp Fiction fans, Royal Cheese) or other fast food on a regular basis.
It is in the two countries surveyed which are members of the so-called BRIC group, Brazil and China, where the dining out habit is most firmly ingrained. 33% of Chinese and 19% of Brazilians said they dined at least two times a week in restaurants. The corresponding figures for Europeans are much lower - only 2% of Britons, 3% of Germans and 5% of the French said they ate out with such frequency. This is probably due at least in part to the fact that dining out tends to be very expensive in Europe due to high labor costs, and much more reasonable in the developing countries, where there is a large supply of inexpensive labor.
In general the survey would seem to indicate that as the population of the newly-developing countries like Brazil and China becomes wealthier and more economically secure their eating habits will change as well to more closely mirror the habits found in the developed world.