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East Lancashire bakers Warburtons pull out of Franch market
A BAKERY with a factory in Burnley has been getting ‘stick’ from the French – after its long shelf life range was rejected by the Gallic nation.
Family business Warburtons, which has a factory in Billington Road, launched its 'Le Toastie' range in more than 270 supermarkets across the Channel last August in a bid to conquer the multi-million pound bread market in France.
But French consumers turned their noses up at the idea of a loaf with a 10-day shelf-life and stuck to their daily habit of buying fresh bread.
The firm, which has its headquarters in Bolton, has now axed the white, brown and seeded loaves marketed as 'the everyday English bread'.
Pendle-based artist Philippe Handford, who created the huge 1612 sign on the side of Pendle Hill, regularly returns to his homeland.
He said he couldn’t understand why his compatriots hadn’t been sold on Le Toastie.
“It’s like trying to sell coal back to Newcastle,” he said.
“I can’t really fault English bread but in France it is completely different, it is one of the special aspects of the country, the bread is always made and eaten on the same day.
“Because of that English bread and French bread has completely different tastes, if I eat bread over here I tend to toast it.
“In England a lot of bread is frozen as well, but that idea just wouldn’t happen in France.”
Warburtons said it had quit the French market because it was uneconomical for them to continue.
A Warburtons spokeswoman said: “It was not cost effective to continue to produce and distribute the extended shelf life range solely for France.”
Last year the firm's turnover hit £524million, up from £499.7million the year before.
Warburtons was named the nation’s best loved shopping brand in May.
It sold 520 million items last year, research showed.
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