The French munch through 320 baguettes every second. That’s an average of half a baguette per person per day and 10 billion every year.
A hike in the cost of wheat is alarming French households who fear a possible rise in the price of the prized baguette, seen by many as a barometer of the country’s economic health, the Associated Press reports from Versailles, where the French revolution began when peasants could not afford bread.
Many boulangeries around France are putting up signs, warning customers that the long, crunchy staple could be going up in price by 3 to 5 centimes (4 to 6 cents), from its average of about 89 centimes (just over $1).
“Although that might not seem like a lot, it’s a huge increase. The baguette is precious. It has only gone up 23 centimes in the last 20 years,” said Dominique Anract, president of the French Confederation of Bakeries and Pastry Shops.
The bread industry crunch has been linked to a 30% worldwide increase since September in the price of wheat — one of the baguette’s key ingredients — after bad harvests in Russia, Anract said. Rising energy prices that are making ovens more expensive to operate are also a factor, Anract and other experts say, with businesses and consumers worldwide already feeling the heat of higher prices from supply chain and labor constraints.
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