French People Adore This Frozen Food Brand


Picard Surgelés (“Picard Frozen Food”) or simply Picard is a very popular French store. The company only sells frozen food – and managed to make that healthy, tasty and popular.

It’s been around since 1906, and according to polls, French people think of it as one of their favorite brands. Some YouTubers and TikTok creators are even challenging themselves to eat nothing but food from Picard!

Side note: this is not a sponsored lesson. It might look like an advertisement at times, it’s true… But I can’t avoid it – I just wanted to talk about the place of these stores in French culture.

C’est parti !

1) The Picard brand

Picard is a chain of stores selling la nourriture surgelée / les surgelés (= frozen food.) It offers a lot of choices and reasonably high-quality products. For everyday meals, for a good lunch at work, or to complement a home-made meal. Even un repas de fête (= holiday dinner or lunch) can use the help of some Picard food as a side dish or an appetizer, while we’re busy dealing with the rest.

  • Geler = to freeze,
  • Surgeler = to “over freeze,” freezing for conserving food = Congeler
  • Colloquial: On se les gèle, ici ! = We’re freezing our asses off here!
  • Noël / Pâques = Christmas / Easter

The name “Picard” (silent “d”) comes from an early investor in the 1920s. But it’s also the name of people living in la Picardie, the French cultural region North of Paris.

Extra resource: Quick list about Picardie

  • Between Paris and le Nord (the region around Lille, south of Belgium)
  • It’s not very touristy, more agricultural: le blé = wheat, la betterave = beet
  • “L’aéroport Paris-Beauvais” is actually in Picardie. Flights there can be cheaper, but you’ll have a one-hour-long shuttle trip to get to Paris.
  • Historical anthem: Réveillez-vous Picards (“Wake up people from Picardie (and fight for your lord)”)
  • Satirical funny band: Les Fatals Picards (Eurovision 2007)

Other well-liked French brands, and Picard competitors:

  • Leroy Merlin, a hardware store for le bricolage (= craft and DIY projects and small repairs around the house.)
  • Décathlon, a sporting goods retailer, relatively cheap but good-enough quality. Une polaire Décathlon = a Décathlon fleece. Quechua = their in-house brand.
  • Au Vieux Campeur = where you go buy your equipment if you’re serious about hiking and outdoors activities
  • Un supermarché (= a supermarket, where you can also buy frozen food), like the giant companies: Carrefour, Auchan or E. Leclerc.
  • Thiriet – a smaller frozen food chain.

2) What’s in a Picard store?

As a company, Picard tried and succeeded to make frozen food kind of high-end in France. The clients of Picard are mostly well-off, urban people, who like to shop in small grocery stores. And the giant chain chose to build mostly un magasin de proximité (= a smaller local store) that blend in with the other local shops, instead of big supermarkets in the outskirts of cities.

You can buy prepared individual meal, but also all kinds of dishes.


  • Un micro-ondes = un four à micro-ondes = a microwave (oven)
  • Réchauffer au micro-ondes = warm up in the microwave
  • La viande = meat
    • Le bœuf = beef,
    • L’agneau = lamb,
    • Le veau = veal,
    • Le porc = pork…
  • La volaille = poultry
    • Des cuisses de canard = duck legs,
    • Un filet de poulet = chicken fillet…
  • Le poisson = fish
    • Un pavé de saumon = a salmon fillet
  • Un légume / Des légumes = vegetables.
    • Les épinards = spinach,
    • Les petits pois = green peas.
  • Végétarien = a vegetarian person or vegetarian dish.
  • Une herbe aromatique = aromatic herb
    • La ciboulette = chives,
    • La coriandre = cilantro
  • La sauce aux champignons = mushroom sauce.
  • Miam ! = Yum!

You can easily find une spécialité française (= a French dish) at Picard, but it’s even more well-known for their large selection of la cuisine du monde (= world food, dishes from other cultures.)

On Picard website (or in their stores) you can find ideas for your next meal with une recette (= a recipe.)

French culture likes quality food, like ingredients produced in France, especially for meat. That’s part of the marketing arguments for the brand, as well as labels. Especially:

  • Le Label Rouge = the “red label” for high quality meat.
  • Issu de l’Agriculture Biologique = “Bio” (for short) = organic.

3) Picard advertising

And finally, they do have some plainly good PR and branding too.

Like their 90’s le slogan publicitaire (=advertising slogan,) that was: “C’est fait par qui ? Par Picard.” (= Who did this? Picard did it.)
It’s still referenced in French media, now and then!

Or in TV ads, like;

** Le truc en plus **
Bon Entendeur specialized in making one-hour(ish)-long chill tracks, sampling personal or philosophical extracts out of interviews from celebrities. Check it out and see for yourself!
Click here to get to their YouTube Channel: Bon Entendeur – YouTube
A 50-min mixtape with interview of France Gall: Bon Entendeur : “les Souvenirs”

And now, keep exploring modern day-to-day French culture with me!

Click here to get your next lesson:

À tout de suite.
I’ll see you in the next video!

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Join the conversation!

  • I have a funny Picard story. I was in Paris trying to use a laundromat. I didn’t have change for the machines so I went next door to what seemed to be a grocery store intending to buy something to get some change. It seemed odd to me that the first display case when I entered was frozen food. And then the next, and the next! Finally it dawned on me that it was a frozen food store and that there was nothing for me to buy. I had a good laugh and tried another store. I learned then what “surgelée” meant!

  • you remind me my first french teacher in my english literature university course[as a second language]
    i hope to meet you sometime
    peter from greece

  • Bonjour Géraldine. Comme toujours, vous avez créé une leçon très interessante! Peut-être pour la plupart, vos étudiants sont américain, mais les anglais, les australiens, les néo-zélandais, etc, ne comprennent pas “cilantro”. A part d’Amerique du nord, les anglophones disent “coriander”…

    • Bonjour Dennis. Il me faut ecrire en anglais, pardon! I had never seen this word ‘cilantro’ but Geraldine is such a good teacher she even teaches English! Well, comme vous dites, l’anglais de l’Amerique du nord. This herb is indeed coriander elsewhere. Salut de l’Australie! PS. I shall make it a point to try Picard un de ces jours. Merci Geraldine.

  • Mon marie et moi – on ADORE Picard ! On l’a découvert il y a 4 ou 5 ans. On va en France chaque année, et quand on réserve nos appartements, on cherche toujours un endroit avec un four, un micro-onde, et un Picard près de nous! Comme Géraldine a dit, la nourriture est vraiment bonne, même les baguettes! Et n’oublie pas de regarder les desserts surgelés – miam miam ! Quelle bonne “leçon”, Géraldine. Merci ☺️

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