Connect with us


French Croissant Reinvention: Battling American Snacks To Woo Gen Z

Nestled next to the Eiffel Tower, the butter croissant stands as one of France’s iconic treats, boasting a crispy exterior and a soft, spongy interior, available at affordable prices across local bakeries. However, in recent years, the traditional viennoiserie has faced stiff competition from American snacks like cookies and doughnuts. Yet, determined to reclaim its spotlight, bakers are exploring innovative flavors and leveraging social media to attract customers. A Parisian bakery, for instance, has drawn crowds with its inventive “crookie,” blending the allure of a croissant with the indulgence of cookie dough, enticing tourists and young patrons alike.

Croissants beignets by Grolet

“I did it for fun, I had no pretensions,” the crookie’s creator, baker Stéphane Louvard of Boulangerie Louvard, near the Grands Boulevards, tells EL PAÍS. In recent weeks, production has gone from about 100 units a day to 1,500 and 2,200, after two influencers talked about his crookies on Instagram and TikTok. “Since then, the influx just keeps going up, it’s hard to keep up with what’s been coming at us.” By comparison, they sell about 250 butter croissants every day.

Although the lines started at the end of January, the crookie itself was created in October 2022. “One day we were making cookies and tried putting the dough inside croissants. We liked it and decided to sell some. We’ve always liked them, but now we see a new public coming to look for us, especially tourists, young people and TikTokers from the area. It’s what they call food porn, which sells well on social media, and the latter is what we find really incredible,” says Louvard, still incredulous at the media popularity of his latest creation.

The ‘crookie,’ a croissant filled with cookie dough, from Boulangerie Louvard in Paris.

The crookie sells for €5.90, the total of the price of the croissant and cookies. The croissant has uncooked chocolate chip cookie dough, and two flaky layers of baked dough on the outside. “The secret is that the croissant is crispy, while the cookie is almost melted inside,” Louvard confides. “We use top-quality ingredients. There are stores that are selling frozen versions and I know of other bakers who are trying to make their own, even in England and Morocco,” he says. Indeed, some videos with homemade crookie recipes are already circulating on social media.

In a survey published by the gastronomic consultancy Strateg’eat for the Sandwich & Snacking Show, pain au chocolat (or chocolatine, depending on which corner of France you are in) is France’s favorite sweet snack (34%), ahead of croissants, which are in second place (28%). But if we only consider Generation Z data, cookies come out on top among 38% of the youngest. That figure reflects the growing French passion for American baked goods, which are gaining ground against viennoiseries.

“We’re seeing that viennoiseries will always have a place in the hearts of the French, although less so in the hearts of Generation Z, especially those under 25. Is this the end of French pastry? I don’t think so, but it does force us to have a variety of products in bakeries,” explains Nicolas Nouchi, founder of Strateg’eat. He believes that the “will to exist on social media” through notoriety is a necessity for retailers.

A croissant beignet at Grolet's in Paris.
A croissant beignet at Grolet’s in Paris.Calvin Courjon

In a country where the majority still does not eat breakfast away from home, offerings of savory or cream-filled croissants are extras; for the most orthodox, they are a form of blasphemy. However, the presence of these products has continued to make an impact after the French haute pâtisserie opted to refresh its croissants and pains au chocolat. In recent years, the novelties have kept coming: from Philippe Conticini’s giant croissant and pain au chocolat (about €30 per unit), to Cédric Grolet’s beignet croissant, sold for €5 at his store in Ópera ‘Cédric Grolet Café. Grolet mesmerizes social media with the preparation of his recipes and famous guests to his workshop like Rosalía and Pedro Alonso. “The croissant is our foundation and star product. The chef has proposed a new version combining it with a fritter to add novelty and an urban influence,” Grolet’s team emphasizes. “We see real enthusiasm from viennoiserie customers. They appreciate simple creations, full of techniques and especially full of meaning. In our new café, we are seeing a new, younger clientele.”

Outside Paris, experiments are also swooping in, with the added challenge of winning over more conservative local consumers: Louis Tortochot, who was voted best baker in France in 2019, made a name for himself in 2011 with his flavored croissants and eventually set up a croissant bar in his two bakeries in Dijon, Du Pain pour demain. There, customers can fill their croissants with praline, raspberry, pistachio and other creams right in the store. “The croissant (€1.30) makes up a third of pastry sales, another third would be the pain au chocolat and the third [are] flavored croissants (€2.10), of which we sell about 600 a day. Not bad for a city like Dijon,” says Tortochot, who notes that this trendy product does best with those under 45 years old. Although he started this project before the boom on social media, Tortochot does not mind its influence on consumers. “We are a zapping generation. We like to be stimulated with novelties and [then] move on to something else. That’s why you have to have options. In this society, you either move or you die,” he says.

Croissants from Du pain pour demain bakeries.
Croissants from Du pain pour demain bakeries.

Louis Lamour in Bordeaux represents the vanguard of a new generation of bakers pushing the boundaries of traditional recipes. Operating two bustling stores, Lamour tantalizes customers with innovative offerings like the daily Croichoc (€2.50), featuring luscious chocolate fillings, and the Beyrouthin (€2.50), a fusion of croissant and goat cheese infused with Asian spices. Weekends bring the indulgent Croistache (€3), boasting delectable pistachio cream. Lamour emphasizes the importance of diversifying beyond the traditional croissant, highlighting the craftsmanship and value of their creations. While acknowledging the prevalence of frozen croissants in French bakeries, Lamour underscores the joy and challenge of pursuing originality and unique products, which command higher prices and captivate discerning consumers.

Harnessing the power of social media, Lamour recognizes its pivotal role in modern communication, albeit reluctantly. He notes that innovative products like his appeal to a younger demographic and food enthusiasts who seek novelty beyond classic staples like baguettes and croissants. Consultant Nicolas Nouchi identifies this as a burgeoning micro-trend, positioning adventurous customers at a crossroads: seize the opportunity to experience these novel creations before they are overshadowed by the next viral sensation.


Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by Savills reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.

Continue Reading


Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.

Continue Reading


European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.

We Can’t Thank You Enough For Your Support!

— By Darren Wilson, Team

— Contact us:

— Anonymous submissions:

Continue Reading


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!