Could you imagine life without the humble sliced loaf? Us Brits love our sandwiches and British bread manufacturer Warburtons does a roaring trade of the sliced stuff in the UK.

On the other side of the Channel, however, it's a very different story.

Last year Warburtons started selling a long-life loaf in more than 200 supermarkets across the Channel and bravely marketed it as 'the everyday English bread'.

Quelle horreur! French shoppers responded to the bread invasion with disgust and voted with their feet, leaving the sliced loaf languishing on supermarket shelves.

As a result, Warburtons had to beat a hasty retreat and withdraw its loaf from the French market.

Perhaps not surprisingly in a country that created the baguette, the croissant, and the pain au chocolat, French shoppers continued to purchase their pain quotidien from their local boulangerie and bid a curt au revoir to their English neighbour's long-life sliced offering.

A Warburtons spokeswoman told The Grocer magazine: 'It was not cost effective to continue to produce and distribute the extended shelf life range solely for France.'

If it's any consolation to Warburtons, though, it is still the most popular bread in the UK, ahead of rivals Hovis and Kingsmill. So there's no knead (sorry) for them to lose any sleep over their continental snub.

But we do pity the poor marketing manager who tried to convince our Gallic neighbours that they needed our assistance in the bread department. We imagine he's since found a new job - perhaps selling ice to the Eskimos.

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