Supermarket claims 75% of its customers prefer non-curved version of pastry, citing ease of spreading jam as a factor
When is a crescent not curved? When it’s a Tesco croissant.
From Friday, the retailer is to defy logic by only selling straight versions of the breakfast pastries, the French name of which literally translates as crescent.
It claims that demand for the traditionally curved breakfast snacks has fallen and British consumers now prefer straight ones due to their optimised “spreadability factor” and a sense that they are somehow more sophisticated.
Harry Jones, Tesco’s croissant buyer, said: “After demand for crescent shaped croissants started falling, we spoke to our customers and nearly 75% of them told us that they preferred straight ones.
“At the heart of the move away from curved croissants is the spreadability factor. The majority of shoppers find it easier to spread jam, or their preferred filling, on a straighter shape with a single sweeping motion.
“With the crescent shaped croissants, it’s more fiddly and most people can take up to three attempts to achieve perfect coverage, which increases the potential for accidents involving sticky fingers and tables,” he said.
The supermarket said the change is part of a wider range of improvements it is making to key bakery products, including putting more chocolate chips in its own brand brioche and creamier ganache in its chocolate cakes.
The owner of one London French bakery viewed the change with scepticism. Michelle Wade, whose Maison Bertaux in Soho is a top destination for croissant connoisseurs, said the pastries ought to be curved until the tips touch. “They never look like that at Tesco,” she said.
Maison Bertaux’s croissants “are beautifully curved”, Wade said. “But, mind you, the thing is that croissants always come out a lot of different shapes because they are hand rolled.”
“Anyway it’s good for us because it makes our products more original,” she added.
According to legend, the predecessor of the modern croissant was invented in Austria in the 17th century to celebrate the defeat of the Turkish empire at the siege of Vienna, with the shape representing the Islamic crescent.
The tale, although probably apocryphal, reportedly led to the snack being banned by Islamic fundamentalists in Syria.
Sainsbury’s and Waitrose confirmed they sold both curved and straight croissants, and had no plans to discontinue either type.
“The easiest way to enjoy a curved croissant is to do it the French
way - by dunking it into a dollop of jam,” a Waitrose spokeswoman
This article was written by Damien Gayle, for theguardian.com on Thursday 18th February 2016 17.31 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010