Mon dieu! New campaign urges French to eat more bread

By Eun Kyung Kim

Got baguette?

The French are eating less bread these days, and bakers have launched a national campaign to fix that.

The average Frechman now eats half a baguette a day, compared to an entire loaf in 1970. A century ago, the average was a carb-loading three per day.

The trend to eat less bread is more pronounced among youth, a generation that can’t be bothered to stop by their local boulangerie after work to pick up a baguette. So bakers and millers have launched a new national campaign to encourage people to put away their pasta and pastries and eat more fresh, fat-free bread.

Modeled after America’s “Got milk?” campaign, the French are being asked: “Coucou, tu as pris le pain?” – or “Hey there, have you picked up the bread?”

The slogan can be found on billboards and inscribed on bread bags in cities around the nation.

“Eating habits are changing,” Bernard Valluis, co-president of the bakers’ and millers’ lobby, told the New York Times. “People are too busy or work too late to go to the bakery. Teenagers are skipping breakfast. Now when you see the word ‘coucou,’ we want it to be a reflex for consumers to say to themselves, ‘Ah, I have to buy bread today.' ”

But many said baguettes continue to be a French staple, and aren't disappearing any time soon.

“This is the breakfast of French champions,” Elaine Sciolino, the Times writer who wrote about the dilemma, explained to NBC's Michelle Kosinki.