Forget the baguette. The French are going crazy for burgers.
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Figures released this week revealed that sales of the jambon-beurre — the ham and butter baguette sandwich, a classic of French snacking — have been surpassed by sales of American-style burgers.
The study by restaurant consultants Gira Conseil showed that about 1.2 billion ham and butter sandwiches were sold in 2017, while 1.4 billion burgers were eaten over the same period.
"Even the Americans are looking at us with wide-eyed amazement," Bernard Boutboul, general director of Gira Conseil, told The Associated Press.
"Obviously the rise in popularity is not linked to sales at McDonald's or other fast-food restaurants," Boutboul said in a phone interview. "It's due to the growing number of restaurants putting burgers on their menu."
Eighty percent of restaurants in France included burgers on their menu last year, he said.
Overall, sales of both sandwiches and burgers are on the rise. The study notes that "the ham and butter sandwich recorded a 1.3 percent growth in 2017 while burger (sales) keep booming with 9 percent" growth.
"The French's favorite sandwich is losing ground, slowly but steadily," the study said.
Boutboul said the burger frenzy started about a decade ago after three-star Michelin chef Yannick Alleno, based in Paris, won the New York Times' award for the best burger in the world.
According to the consultant's figures, half of the 2.4 billion sandwiches sold in 2017 were jambon-beurre.
"Despite a rise in the numbers of jambon-beurre consumed this year, long gone are the prosperous years," the study said. "In 2012, the jambon-beurre market share was 62 percent. It lost more than 11 percent over five years."