November 15, 2021 - 7:25 am

Rising Baguette Prices Bring Unrest

In the current public unrest in France over a hike in the cost of wheat is alarming as French household who feat a possible rise in the price of the prize baguette, seen by many as a barometer of the country's economic health. 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, it might not seem like a lot, it's a huge increase.

                                        France's 67 million people are voracious consumers of the baguette. The current surge in the price of the baguette is due to bad harvest in Russia, which have led to a global rise in the price of wheat. Greater energy prices have also made ovens more expensive to operate and the heat is being felt by the nation's famous boulangeried (bakery); as well as the average consumer of the long baton-shaped bread which is seen as an icon of French culinary heritage.

                                         Although, the baguette seems like the quintessential French product, it was said to have been invented by Vienna-born baker August Zang in 1839. Zang put in place France's steam oven making it possible to produce bread with a brittle crush yet fluffy interior. French culture minister Roselyne Bachelot has even nominated the baguette for a place on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage next.

                                          It is not the first time the price shot, in the past 233 years ago, echoes of unrest took place. Back then, the fact that a staple had been priced out of the reach of the masses led to the French revolution and the dramatic, bloody collapse of the ancient regime. However, the situation is not quite so dire right now. Around the World, the affordability or non-availability of food from time to time led to mass unrest, and even collapse of the governments.