lu french cookies

On January 4th, 2023, the online data platform Statista (in cooperation with Kantar) published a survey about the consumption details of “Sweet Biscuits (Excluding Breakfast Biscuits)” in France in the year 2021. The survey listed the most popular cookies in the country by the number of consumers. 

Even a cursory glance is enough to learn that the biggest Lefèvre Utile, or LU, is currently the biggest French biscuit company in the domestic market. Not only does it have both the #1 cookie by the number of consumers but the most individual entries on the list, and is the overall most named brand, including among consumers who didn’t specify which cookies exactly. 

The French are, after all, big fans of traditions, and LU has a rich 175+ year history under its belt. These statistics wouldn’t be surprising if it weren’t for a couple of details: 

  • How thoroughly LU cookies dominated every other brand (you’d think in a country well-known for gourmet snacks, at least a couple would be able to compete at its level);
  • Their most popular cookie wasn’t the one they’re most famous for, not by a long shot.

The Best-Selling French Sweet Biscuit vs. The Flagship Cookie:

Sharp eyes quickly noticed an important detail: the cookie LU considers to be their flagship product and is, arguably, the best known for is not their most popular cookie.

According to the survey, the best-selling cookie for the year 2021 was LU Petit Écolier, with over 1,800 thousand consumers. In comparison, the cookie LU is best known for, the Veritable Petit Beurre, had just over 940 thousand consumers. 

Now, don’t get it wrong, it’s still one of the best-selling French cookies overall (it placed in the overall Top-20). But it’s still surprising that Veritable Petit Beurre has enticed twice as few people to purchase it as Petit Écolier did.

Additionally, another biscuit the company used to consider a flagship product - LU Boudoirs (the French Ladyfinger cookies) - didn’t rank at all. While LU has shifted focus from Ladyfingers to their other, more unique cookies, like Pims, Barquettes, and Princes, it’s still surprising to see Boudoirs so thoroughly overlooked when it was one of the products to put the company on the map in the first place.

Since the statistics defied expectations so thoroughly, we thought exploring which LU cookies French consumers tend to gravitate towards would be interesting.

After all, who, if not the French, know what gourmet-quality baked goods should taste like?

Top 15 Best-Selling (and Best-Known) LU (Lefèvre Utile) Cookies:

Even considering how big of a brand LU is, the way it absolutely dominated the list of best-selling sweet biscuits in France must have raised some eyebrows. 17 positions out of the top 50 were LU cookies, with four of them in the Top 10.

However, we should all remember a few critical points when breaking down these statistics.

Important caveat #1: LU, as a brand overall, is (unsurprisingly) much more recognizable and has a more devoted following than any single one of the products it puts on the market. 

Based on the answers, the survey estimates that over 4,600 thousand people (well over twice the number that named LU Petit Écolier as their cookie of choice) simply go with “Any LU” cookie as their primary choice, not paying attention as to what that specific cookie is.

Important caveat #2: On one hand, that number is high enough that it could upset the placement of certain cookies in the list. On the other hand, it’s also likely that the dispersion of final consumption is wide enough over multiple products that even if each surveyed person named a specific LU cookie, the top spots would look the same.

Important caveat #3: LU divides its Petit Beurre cookies into several sub-brands. If we were to combine the sales of all the Petit Beurre cookie varieties, then the picture would look much different. That said, if this were the case, then arguably, Petit Écolier could also be categorized as a Petit Beurre cookie. So we’re sticking to keeping the statistics for each type separate.

LU Petit Écolier

As already mentioned, LU Petit Écolier was France’s #1 most popular cookie brand in 2021, with over 1,800 thousand consumers.

Petit Écolier (fr. for “Little Schoolboy”) is LU’s invention, though many other brands have adopted the overall look since. It’s a two-layered cookie. The bottom layer consists of a crumbly butter cookie (LU uses their Petit Beurre cookie recipe for the Petit Écolier bottom layer), with a thick layer of chocolate making up the top layer. The chocolate layer has a unique design of a schoolboy with a basket munching on a cookie. 

While similar two-layered butter-and-chocolate cookies have since become common, the unique design still sets LU Petit Écolier apart. The design of the schoolboy had stayed the same since its introduction in 1897 when it was used as a mascot for Veritable Petit Beurre. The modern version of Petit Écolier was introduced in 1983. It was initially made with dark chocolate, though the current line-up includes milk chocolate, hazelnut, and white chocolate variations.

LU Granola

No, this cookie has nothing to do with American Granola. It’s another two-layered biscuit, with one side covered in chocolate. What can we say? The French really seem to enjoy the combo since LU Granola ranked as the #3 most popular cookie in France in 2021, with over 1,600 thousand consumers, just barely losing to BN biscuits.

LU Granola is a crunchy shortbread made with premium wheat flour (so no oats, nuts, or honey), with one side covered in a thick layer of chocolate that looks a bit like a scored soft cheese. The original Granola was made with milk chocolate, but the line-up has expanded to include various different flavors, including dark chocolate and coconut.

LU Prince (Principe)

LU Prince is a sandwich cookie. It consists of two round, thin, and crunchy cookies somewhat reminiscent of Ritz crackers, with a thick layer of cream in the middle. 

The original (and most famous) LU Prince cookies are chocolate-flavored. Again, the French are really into the flavor combo of LU butter cookies and chocolate. But a vanilla cream-filled Principe is a well-loved option among those who prefer less sweet biscuits.

Like Petit Écolier, Prince cookies have a mascot of their own: a heroic-looking prince in a crown and swishing cape, whose image is branded both on the package and on the cookie.

Interestingly, LU markets Principe as a breakfast cookie, though that didn’t stop it from ranking as the #7 most popular cookie in France in 2021.

LU Petit LU

I had some trouble finding what Petit Lu was, to be honest. Interestingly enough, the cookie that ranked as the #10 most popular cookie in France in 2021 doesn’t seem to be known outside the country’s borders.

Petit LU is, apparently, a sub-type of their Veritable Petit Beurre, only it has other added flavoring ingredients. The most notable among them are chocolate chips and Guérande Salt.

LU Pépito

Another sandwich cookie, LU Pepito, consists of two Sable butter cookies with chocolate cream in the middle. Interestingly, Pepito cookies aren’t a LU invention. They were initially created by Biscuiterie Belin, then a subsidiary of American food giant Nabisco, in 1961. After Nabisco and Biscuiterie Belin parted ways in 1989, an assortment of their cookies went to LU.

LU revamped the Pepito cookies in 1997 and diversified the cookie assortment to include a few other types of cookies as well, most notably small round cream-filled cookies decorated with stars on top.

The cookie gets its name (and mascot) from Italian cartoonist Luciano Bottaro’s comic strip Pépito. The mascot is a young, jovial Mexican boy wearing a Sombrero. 

Pépito ranked as the #11 most popular cookie in France in 2021.

LU Pim’s

LU Pim’s are basically the French version of Jaffa cakes. Like classic Jaffa cakes, they consist of three layers: a crumbly sweet biscuit, a thick layer of jam, and a thin crunchy chocolate top. LU’s assortment covers a wide variety of flavors, including the classic orange, as well as strawberry, raspberry, cherry, pear, and more.

LU Pim’s was ranked as France’s #12 most popular cookie brand in 2021.

LU Mikado

LU Mikado is the French version of the Japanese Pocky. It’s a light, crunchy, and somewhat bland biscuit stick coated with a thick layer of chocolate. Compared to classic Pocky, the coating covers a larger part of the Mikado stick. It ranked as the #15 most popular cookie in France in 2021.

LU La Paille d’Or

The La Paille d’Or biscuit is another of LU’s original inventions. It’s best known for its unique shape. The biscuit consists of five thin, airy wafer tubes that look “tied” together with another (cross-shaped) wafer bit. The tubes are filled with sweet raspberry cream. It was invented by Louis Lefèvre-Utile (the son of LU’s founders) on April 15th, 1905. In 2021, it ranked as the #16 most popular cookie brand in France.

LU Barquettes de LULU

A Barquette (fr. “boat”) is a common form of pastry shell in France, frequently used for hors d’oeuvre and dessert. LU used it to make a more distinct version of thumbprint cookies. 

LU Barquettes are elongated crumbly shortbread cookies with an indented center. That center is most often filled with jam (apricot and strawberries are the most well-known), but the line-up also includes chocolate cream. Barquettes were the #16 most popular cookie brand in France in 2021.

LU Veritable Petit Beurre

Here it is, the original king. In 2021, it ranked as the #18 most popular cookie brand in France (unless we roll all LU butter cookies into one).

Invented in 1886 by Louis Lefèvre-Utile, Veritable Petit Beurre is accredited for the company’s long-standing and widespread success. Veritable Petit Beurre is a simple butter biscuit, dry and crunchy. LU doesn’t have the exclusive right to the Petit Beurre name, as it was neither the original cookie of its type (Lefèvre-Utile was inspired by English biscuits) nor the first French butter cookie.

It was apparently a favorite of the late 19th-early 20th-century French actress Sarah Bernhardt, who coined the cookie slogan: “What is better than one Petit Beurre LU? Two Petit Beurre LU!

LU Palmito

Palmito is the brand name for LU’s palmiers. Palmier is a type of French butter cookie made with puff pastry. They’re light, crunchy, and not overly sweet, even though they’re dusted with granulated sugar. In 2021, LU Palmito ranked as France’s #22 most popular cookie brand.

LU Belvita

Belvita cookies are dry and crunchy biscuits made with five different grains (maybe they should’ve been called the Granola?). They’re highly lauded for their high fiber content. Initially introduced in 1998, they’re primarily marketed as breakfast cookies similar to Principe, which didn’t stop them from ranking #24 on the list that supposedly excludes breakfast cookie brands.

Belvita’s assortment includes sandwich cookies, with two classic Belvita biscuits and chocolate cream, as well as Belvita Moelleux, a soft cookie filled with chocolate cream.

LU Beurrés Nantais

LU Beurrés Nantais is another sub-type of LU’s Petit Beurre. The main difference between the two cookies is the shape: while Petit Beurre is rectangular with rigged edges, Beurres Nantais is round. It was #39 on the list.

LU Cookie de LU

Cookie de LU is a large and round whole grain cookie with bits of nuts and fruits. It’s a comparatively new addition to the LU catalog but has accrued enough interest and love to rank as France’s #42 most popular cookie brand.

As of right now, there are two varieties: Fruits Rouges & Noisettes (red berries and hazelnuts) and Abricot & Amandes (apricot and almonds).

LU Petit Coeurs

LU Petit Coeurs is a small, heart-shaped cookie. Currently, there are two types of it on the market. One is a two-color, airy, crumbly shortbread with yellow edges and a chocolaty center. Another is Petit Coeur Choco Croc Pocket, a small and round biscuit covered with a crunchy chocolate layer. The brand ranked as France’s #44 most popular cookie in 2021.

Visit Yummy Bazaar’s Online French Grocery Store for More:

You’ll find more authentic gourmet-grade French products at Yummy Bazaar’s online French grocery store. Explore the carefully curated assortment of premium-grade French biscuits, including the famous classics like butter cookies (Galettes Beurre), sables, palmiers, Palet Bretons, and macarons, along with other traditional pastries, snacks, candies, and more. All you need to do is add your favorites to your cart, and we’ll ensure it gets delivered right to your doorstep ASAP.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published