Le Pain: An Analysis of Bread Consumption in France


Lucas Parent, Lion's Roar Staff

     It’s no secret that bread is a fundamental piece of the French palette. French culture gave birth to and popularized several different notable breads, including brioche, faluche, croissant, and more. Perhaps the “head honcho” of all bread in France, stands the baguette. 

     The history of the baguette is a foggy area. As it stands, the baseline for the original creation of the baguette began taking form in the 1800s. The idea of a sticklike loaf of bread swept French, and the market for the baguette began to expand as time went on. The baguette officially became the baguette in 1920, being defined as longer than 80 grams and longer than 16 inches. In the department of the Seine in roughly the same time period, the price of the baguette was regulated, as it was supposedly a product that was not to be sold for a price higher than a fraction of a franc, to an amount that would translate to a mere 30 cents in today’s America. 

     While the price of the baguette has risen over the years, the quality has improved exponentially by its side, causing it to rise to heights never reached by breadkind. The baguette was recently labeled as a piece of World Heritage, as at this point, it is ingrained in the French way of life. Knowing this, I wanted to find just how popular the baguette was, with the question, “What percent of bread bought in France is the baguette?”.

     The average French person, on average, consumes a single baguette every two days. Reports vary on how many baguettes are sold and consumed yearly in France, but the number typically resides between six and ten billion. Per statista, the average French person consumes fifteen a month, with round or square loaves (9.7) and soft bread (5.3) trailing behind. By using this research, I was able to find an answer. The average French person consumes 49.2 articles of bread in any given month. With 15 of those being baguettes, my answer was apparent. Of all of the bread consumed in France annually,  30.5% is baguettes.