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
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;
- Délicieusement Givrés – A play on words, meaning both “Deliciously Frozen” and “Delightfully Crazy” – Givré = Frozen, or (informal) Crazy
- This 2020 ad picking up electro music from Bon Entendeur. Click here to listen the full track on YouTube: Bon Entendeur vs Isabelle Pierre – Le Temps Est Bon (Clip Officiel)
** 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!
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- Why French people never hug
- French People Never Do Small Talk
- What French People Never Eat
- French people never do these 5 things
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I’ll see you in the next video!
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