Our toilet paper, hand sanitiser and pasta aisles are empty, but while the rest of the world is stockpiling what they feel to be basic essentials, the French are hoarding a uniquely French “essential” – the baguette.
Reports have it that in France, anxious consumers are descending on bakeries for multiple baguettes to freeze in case further quarantine restrictions are enforced, preventing them from buying fresh. Some bakeries in the nation’s capital reported production and sales doubling since Monday and some people buying 50 baguettes at a time, with bakers forced to implement limits on number of loaves per customer.
Like in Australia, bakeries are considered to be an essential service in France, allowing them to remain open while other retailers are forced to close to stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) under strict confinement measures.
Bread and the baguette especially are deeply ingrained in French culture, with nine billion consumed each year and an annual competition held for the best baguette in Paris.
So while Parisians are filling their freezers with the long loaves, what are Aussies stockpiling? We reached out on our Baking Business Instagram account to ask bakers what they’ve noticed increased sales of in the past few days.
It turns out Australian consumers are less particular about their particular style of breads, but big lovers of their local bakeries, with regular block loaves in hot demand – along with some wildcard products.
Candied Bakery in Spotswood said they had been selling sourdough loaves like hotcakes (we see you, Melbourne), as well as their specialty Hot Cross Donuts, because even in a worldwide health crisis we’re suckers for hybrid desserts.
Perhaps unusually for a bakery, they had also been selling a great deal of toilet paper as part of a promotion following the shortage in supermarkets.
Many bakeries including Flour and Chocolate in Brisbane are keeping up stocks of staples like pasta and flour, increasing sales and keeping the locals happy, as well as baking around the clock to meet demand for fresh bread.