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Reader Question: How many baguettes does the average French person eat per day?

Baguettes are pretty popular in France - but how many does the average French person get through?

Reader Question: How many baguettes does the average French person eat per day?
(Photo: Georges Gobet / AFP)

Question: The French seem to really love their baguettes! But how many does the average person eat per day?

Image a cliché ‘French person’ and they will probably be carrying a baguette, then walk down a real French street and you’ll likely see someone carrying a baguette before you’ve gone 5 metres.

France wouldn’t be France without its daily bread – in fact, the country tried to get the humble baguette on UNESCO’s ‘intangible heritage’ list – an attempt prompted by the inclusion of Italy’s Neopolitan pizza dough-twirlers

But daily bread numbers are harder to quantify.

The delightfully esoteric Observatoire du Pain (bread observatory, yes, that exists) said that France’s 35,000 bakeries served 12 million customers daily – and that 6 billion baguettes per year are produced by bakeries in France.

Calculations from France Info put that at 320 baguettes made every second and works out at just under half a baguette per person per day.

A more recent study has found that bread consumption in France has fallen in recent years – but it’s still pretty popular.

Snacking.fr reported in 2021 that, in a survey, 82 percent of people in France said they ate bread every day, compared to 88 percent of those who responded five years previously. The survey didn’t specify the type of bread, but although sliced bread does exist in France, the baguette is far and away the most popular bread type.

Older people tended to prefer to eat bread more regularly than the younger generation, according to the study by QualiQuanti. Only 35 percent of under 35s said they ate bread daily, compared to two-thirds of those aged over 60.

According to the study, French people eat an average of 105 grammes of bread per day during the week, down from 114 grammes in 2015. Bread consumption goes up at the weekend.

This had already been noted. In 2017, baker Anthony Bosson said that bread was no longer a basic necessity. It had become a ‘gourmet’ product.

“Bakers must respond to “new” demand, often even anticipate it by offering their customers a wide variety of breads,” he said, back then. 

“We can almost compare the choice of a bread to that of a wine: according to the season, the moment of the day (breakfast, lunch, snack, snack, dinner), the dishes it is intended for to accompany, the taste and sensitivity of the guests…”

His prescience has been backed up by more recent evidence, as bakers have kept their businesses viable over the past decade by offering new ranges, including snacks and sandwiches, a 2020 study by the non-profit Atelier parisien d’urbanisme (Apur) found. 

The eighth study into the health of the capital’s shops, cafe culture and restaurants since 2000 found that 94 percent of Parisians live within a five-minute walk from one of the 1,180 boulangeries that dot the capital’s streets.

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FOOD & DRINK

Kinder pulls 3,000 tonnes of products after salmonella cases

Children in nine European countries, including 81 in France, were affected

Kinder pulls 3,000 tonnes of products after salmonella cases

More than 3,000 tonnes of Kinder products have been withdrawn from the market over salmonella fears leaving a dent of tens of millions of euros, a company official has told France’s Le Parisien.

Nicolas Neykov, the head of Ferrero France, said the contamination came “from a filter located in a vat for dairy butter”, at a factory in Arlon in Belgium.

He said the contamination could have been caused by humans or raw materials.

Chocolate products made at the factory in Arlon, southeastern Belgium, were found to contain salmonella, resulting in 150 cases in nine European countries.

Eighty-one of these were in France, mainly affecting children under 10 years old.

The factory’s closure and the health concerns were blows to its owner, Italian confectionery giant Ferrero, coming at the height of the Easter holiday season when its Kinder chocolates are sought-after supermarket buys.

“This crisis is heartbreaking. It’s the biggest removal of products in the last 20 years,” Neykov said.

But the company hoped to be able to start up the factory again, with 50 percent of health and safety inspections to be carried out by an approved “external laboratory” in the future, instead of the previous system of only internal reviews.

“We have asked for a reopening from June 13 to relaunch production as soon as possible,” he added.

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