France consumes 10 billion baguettes every year, imminent price increase raises concerns

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The baguette is such an important staple food in France that locals consume 10 billion breads each year and French Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot nominated the bread for inclusion on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List for the year. next.

But a rise in wheat prices could lead to baguette prices soaring, which concerns many who view its cost as an indicator of France’s economic well-being, the Associated Press reported.

Bakeries across the country have started posting signs warning that the price of baguettes could rise by four to six cents (three to five cents), adding to its average cost of just over $ 1. Dominique Anract, president of the French Confederation of Bakeries and Pastry Shops, said that while a few cents might not seem like a big deal, “it’s a huge increase”.

“The wand is valuable. It has only grown by 23 cents in the past 20 years,” Anract said.

France’s population of 67 million consumes so many traditionally long and crispy breads that the “Pain Observatory” is dedicated to monitoring them, AP reported. The French eat 320 baguettes per second, an average of half a baguette per person per day for a total of 10 billion each year.

For more Associated Press reporting, see below.

A rise in wheat prices could lead to baguette prices soaring, which is of concern to many who view the cost of the staple as an indicator of France’s economic well-being. Above, baker Hugo Hardy prepares baguettes for sale at the Bigot bakery in Versailles, west of Paris, on October 26, 2021.
Michel Euler / AP Photo

The bread industry crisis has been linked to a 30% worldwide increase since September in the price of wheat – one of the key ingredients in baguette – after poor harvests in Russia, Anract said. Rising energy prices that make ovens more expensive to use is also a factor, according to Anract and other experts, with businesses and consumers around the world already feeling the heat of the chain’s higher prices. supply and labor constraints.

Energy prices are also affecting the Italian food chain, with the hope that they will increase the cost of drying grain. This could potentially increase the price of bread and pasta in supermarkets, but the meat and dairy aisles are even more vulnerable as beef and milk producers are forced to pay more for grain to feed their animals. and pass the cost on to customers.

“Even three cents more is disastrous when played nationally,” Anract said. “The baguette is our emblem, our symbol, the thermometer of our economy. It may be like the pint of British milk. It can never exceed one euro.”

Marc Cohen, 35, a father of two, said outside his local bakery in the Marais district of central Paris that rising baguette prices “would be painful. Costs are rising everywhere. Even 5 cents, c ‘is a lot because we get one every day. It adds up over the course of the year, and next year it will probably be the same. “

Calling this “depressing news”, Franck Nguyen, a 43-year-old engineer, said “the baguette is an institution in France. If the price increases too much, there will be strong opposition.”

Although the baguette seems to be the quintessential French product, it is said to have been invented by the Viennese baker August Zang in 1839. Zang implemented the French steam oven, making it possible to produce bread with a crusty crust but inside soft.

The peak of the product did not come until the 1920s, with the advent of a French law prohibiting bakers from working before 4 a.m. could do in time for breakfast.

Baguettes are such a serious business that bread watchers say bakers across France are willing to sacrifice other bread products to keep the price of the baguette down, spreading the extra costs.

This worries Sandrine Boyer, a 24-year-old student. She said she spends most of her bakery money on products other than baguettes and hopes “that bread prices in general will not go up as well.”

Bread has often stirred up French passions. Marie-Antoinette’s famous misattributed quote, “Let them eat cake,” was one of the supposed triggers of the French Revolution of 1789.

Still, Anract was optimistic about the immediate future.

“During the revolution, there was a shortage of bread, there was not enough,” he said. “It wasn’t about the price of bread. We are not yet at this stage!

Increased cost of the wand
A global increase in wheat prices after poor harvests in Russia is forcing French bakers to increase the price of this staple food in France, the baguette. Bakeries across France have started putting up signs warning their customers of an increase in the price of their favorite bread due to rising costs. Above, baguettes came out of the oven in a basket at the Feru bakery in Louveciennes, west of Paris, on October 26, 2021.
Michel Euler / AP Photo


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