French baker allows clients to pick the price to fight inflation

Genevieve Mansfield
Genevieve Mansfield - [email protected]
French baker allows clients to pick the price to fight inflation
Baguettes during the annual 'best baguette in Paris' competition, in Paris in 2023. (Photo by ALAIN JOCARD / AFP)

A French boulangerie owner is hoping to do his part to help those in need - by letting them pick the prices for their daily baguette.


In France, the price of a baguette is often used as a marker for inflation. Once less than a single franc, in most of France, baguettes cost more than €1 today. 

But one boulanger in the north of France has taken a new approach: allowing customers to pick the price for themselves, as long as they stay above the minimum €0.60. 

Maxime Lefebvre, who owns three boulangeries in the Somme and Nord départements in northern France, told Le Parisien that this is part of an "anti-inflation" operation - to help households struggling with the rising cost of living. 

READ MORE: Could your French baguette taste a little different in future?

"Baguettes are a basic necessity. We sell around 1,500 per day. These are difficult times for everyone (...) I wanted to do my bit to help those most in need," the baker told the French daily.

In addition to allowing clients to choose their baguette price, Lefebvre said he also offers discounts on products from the previous day, either at 50 percent off or in a three-for-one deal.

In terms of the baguettes sold at €0.60, Lefebvre told Le Figaro that between 20 to 25 percent go for the minimum price. Another 10 to 15 percent go for €0.90, while the vast majority remain at the typical cost of €1.  


"There are also some customers who pay €1.50, because they want to help people in need and they want to see the operation continue for more than just a month," the baker explained.

As for other bakeries in France, many are struggling themselves with rising costs. 

READ MORE: Let them eat bread: the origins of the French baguette

At the start of 2023, according to data from Franceinfo, some 80 percent of boulangeries in France reported that they were at risk of bankruptcy due to dramatic increases in energy costs and raw materials. 

In response, the French government announced plans to help small businesses cope with high energy prices, allowing them to subtract up to 15 percent from their electricity bill in 2023 by checking the box "I am a small business" (SME) on their energy bill.

Nevertheless, many bakers are still struggling with high costs, particularly in electricity. In September, regional outlet Ouest France reported that nine boulangeries in the Manche département had decided to close for one extra day a week in order to cut costs. Others have resorted to raising baguette prices.


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