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French eating fewer baguettes

Consumer preferences and quality to blame as consumer survey finds French eat half as much bread as 50 years ago

THE FRENCH eat half as much bread today as they did 50 years ago, because the quality is dropping, according to a consumer survey report.

The consumer rights group Que Choisir said that the drop in quality was being partially driven by consumers themselves, who were increasingly demanding whiter, lightly-cooked, baguettes.

When questioned by the group, boulangers said that, responding to the preference of customers, they were cooking baguettes for 17 minutes instead of the typical 20-22 minutes.

Another major problem found by the investigation was that flour production had been concentrated in the hands of a four suppliers who controlled more than half the market in France.

The addition of additives to a cheaper, more-processed, type of flour, also leads to a whiter bread that is easier to preserve.

Customers wanting a baguette without additives need to look for labels such as the pain de tradition française which is a regulated name for bread that uses only flour, water, salt and yeast.

Photo by flickr/kurmanstaff

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