Hamburgers usurp classic baguette sandwich in France

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An employee prepares food orders at the Isla Burger Halal fast-food in Nice, FranceImage source, Reuters

French people have bought more US-style hamburgers than their own classic jambon-beurre sandwich for the first time in history, a study suggests.

Some 1.46 billion burgers were sold last year, compared with 1.22 billion baguettes filled with sliced ham, according to Gira Conseil consultants.

The results suggest the nation known for its culinary pride has had a huge shift in its eating habits.

The French ate 14 times fewer burgers a decade ago.

"Jambon-beurre is a French tradition," Gira Conseil director Bernard Boutboul told Reuters news agency.

"But the French are now crazy about burgers. You find them everywhere, from fast food to Michelin-starred restaurants," the Paris-based restaurant consultant said.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
The jambon-beurre was France's favourite sandwich until this year

At least one burger is on the menu at 85% of French restaurants - most of which are full-table-service establishments. Only 30% of hamburgers sold are from fast food outlets.

The European country's "burger frenzy" has been bubbling over the last few years, with the American sandwich steadily stealing more of the French sandwich's market.

"This year, we don't know how to describe the phenomenon. It's just crazy," Mr Boutboul told AFP.

Hamburgers in the country have taken on a French twist - often being served with famous cheeses like Roquefort instead of cheddar.

Even McDonald's, the US burger giant, has adapted its menu to appeal to French diners with McCamembert and McBaguette burgers with emmental cheese, Dijon mustard and even the French confectionery macarons for dessert.

Mr Boutboul believes "le burger" has become a French product, adding, "One wonders whether the burger might even overtake our famous steak-frites in France."