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The baguette, a product which crosses borders
bakery |Posted by Manon Rouge on June 6, 2017
We now know that bread, and especially baguette, gathers a lot of women, men and children who enjoy biting into this piece of flour, water, salt, yeast or leaven. All of it is kneaded for ten minutes, fermented for at least two hours and a half and cooked in the oven for about twenty minutes.
Quick marketing analysis snapshots of a product always enjoyed
The range of available baguettes is very wide : organic bread made with farine bise fermented with leaven, white bread with an open crumb, French baguette with a lighter and honeycombed crumb, multicereal loafs with a few percents of different seeds and flours added. We can find these trends in the vast majority of the 30,000 bakeries in France but also in different commercial showcases in every continent as a guarantee of quality.
The place of bread has evolved, its manufacturing has been modernized while its consumption is falling: one century ago, we ate about 1.98 pounds of bread a day whereas, today, we only eat 0.29 pound.
To conclude on this short depiction of bread environment, mills got organized and regrouped: there were more than 6,000 windmills in 1950 while there are 400 nowadays. Only four corporate groups produce 58% of crushed wheat in France.
The baguette, true symbol of French gastronomy, is exported
These snapshots (reports) are not as revealing as would be a perfect photograph of the bread economy. Yet, in our world which has become more and more homogeneous on a cultural point of view, these figures are quite meaningful. From 2003 to 2013, exports of bread doughs and preparations for baked goods more than doubled, increasing from 197 to 480 million of euros. Finished products that we can find in French food chains or in hotels followed the same trend increasing from 850 million of euros in 2003 to 1.5 billion of euros ten years later. For some countries, the evolution of exports is exponential as it is the case of China with a growth of 7,800% during these last ten years.
There are not a lot of places in the world where we cannot find French baguette nowadays. True French symbol abroad, this bread is in very high demand. France exports every year more than 341,716,506 pounds of baguettes but it is an industrial bread because artisanal baguette remains a very fragile product, hard to export.
Average price of the baguette in eight countries of the world in USD
Thus, bakers travel. Artisanal French bread and pastries process is technical and requires a learning. Great baguette lovers, Japanese have been the first to come to France to learn bakery followed by Americans.
We can now hope that, of the 10 billion baguettes sold every year, the majority have the organoleptic characteristics considered by the historian Steven Kaplan as inherent to “good bread”: “ a nice appearance, golden crust that ‘cracks and sings’, roasted, sour and lactic smells ; pearly, cream or amber crumb with ‘cavities savagely distributed’ ; fruity, spicy and honeyed aromas …”.
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