Not only language separates Switzerland's German, French and Italian-speaking regions – eating habits do too, according to a dietary study published on Monday.This content was published on January 9, 2006 - 18:10
Contrary to Swiss Italians, Swiss French and Germans show a lack of creativity in the kitchen and waste little time preparing their meals.
The results of the study, sponsored by the processed food company, Knorr, were based on surveys conducted at 11,000 homes on one evening in late November last year.
Slightly more than 50 per cent of those questioned revealed they spent less than 20 minutes preparing dinner.
The study also found that the same food was served up several times a week in half of the households.
A majority of people said they would like to have a more varied meal plan, but lacked time, ideas and were unwilling to take risks.
Most said eating healthily was of prime importance, but a third admitted that they rarely ever ate vitamin-rich foods – especially in the main German-speaking part of Switzerland.
This is borne out by the higher preference for hearty vegetable soup in French and Italian regions (26 and 37 per cent) compared with German-speaking areas (17 per cent).
Instead, a much higher percentage of German speakers like to dig into a platter of cold cuts.
Overall, people in French and Italian regions eat an above average amount of foods that are deemed good for you – vegetables and fruit, while German speakers eat too much red meat.
Dining has also remained an important social event in French and Italian-speaking Switzerland, where it is still common for every member of the family to sit down together to enjoy a hearty evening meal.
swissinfo with agencies
More than 50% of those surveyed spend less than 20 minutes preparing the evening meal.
However, only 8% eat frozen dinners and a smaller segment of the population, 2%, choose take away meals.
The survey was carried out by the research institute, LINK, on November 30, 2005.
It was sponsored by the Knorr company, which makes processed foods, including soups.
Knorr is the largest brand of the British-Dutch conglomerate, Unilever.
Knorr was founded by the German, Carl Heinrich Knorr, in 1838. The company's first processing plant was opened in Switzerland in 1885.