The French baguette should be listed as a Unesco cultural treasure, says France’s President Emmanuel Macron. “The baguette is the envy of the whole world,” he said, in support of a national bakers’ association that is promoting the application. The bakers have been inspired by the success of Italy’s Naples pizza, which was protected by the UN’s cultural body last year. Unesco’s list aims to save traditions from globalisation.

The Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage meets annually to evaluate nominations from around the world. The bakers say it is not just the name and shape, but the recipe and ingredients that need to be enshrined. “Excellence and expertise must be preserved, and that is why it should be heritage-listed,” President Macron told French radio after receiving a group of master bakers at the Elysée presidential palace in Paris on Friday.

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Artisan breadmakers have voiced concern about mass-produced imitations. “When I see the quality of bread in supermarkets, it is impossible not to get angry,” Dominique Anract, president of the National Confederation of French Patisseries and Bakeries (CNPBF). The traditional baguette is already protected in France by a 1993 law. To meet the criteria, the bread must only be made from four ingredients: wheat flour, water, yeast and salt. It cannot be frozen or contain preservatives.