The survey was conducted by the QualiQuanti research institute on behalf of France’s Federation of Bakeries and Patisseries (FEB), alongside Intercéréales, Alliance 7, SYFAC, CSFL and CEBP.
A representative sample of 2,125 participants were surveyed, all aged 15-years and over.
50% of French consumers ‘can’t do without it’
Perhaps unsurprisingly, findings revealed that bread maintains a prominent place in the French diet, with 87% of respondents saying they always have bread at home. Indeed, close to 50% said they could not do without it.
On average, the French say they consume around 105g of bread per day during the week. The majority of that bread is consumed in the evenings, with 77% saying they eat the most bread at dinner, closely followed by lunch (76%), and breakfast (65%).
Concerning key drivers motivating consumers to buy bread products, the most common was taste, followed by traditional production methods and freshness.
The artisanal baguette came in as the favourite, with 41% of consumers preferring this bread form to loaves, rolls, and other varieties. In second places came the classic baguette, which was in fact the preferred option for under-45s.
Aside from baguettes, the next most popular is wholemeal bread and multi-grain loaves. Gluten-free was the least preferred amongst France’s bread offerings.
Bakery trends: Local and sustainable
Where are the French buying these bread products? The No. 1 place of purchase remains the independent bakery, followed by large- and medium-sized stores, and bakery chains.
FEB suggested it is likely the coronavirus pandemic boosted the popularity of neighbourhood bakeries, although when the survey was last conducted in 2016, independent bakeries were also the most preferred amongst shoppers.
Survey findings also indicated consumers are increasingly concerned by food waste.
As bread is one of, if not the most, wasted food products, consumers are increasingly opting to freeze their bread – with 52% saying they always have bread in the freezer. A total of 22% said they freeze leftover bread to consume later.
Another way to reduce bread waste is to repurpose it. Stale bread is often used by to make French toast, to feed animals, or added to soup as croutons.
Overall, respondents said they are satisfied with the quality of the bread purchased (96%), but wanted more information on the origin of the flour used.