Helmut Martell, the head of Germany#;s largest bakeries association, has confirmed that the country still tops the European bread consumption charts, with the average German munching 84.8 kilos during the course of the last year.

The figures were compiled as part of a huge survey of consumption across Europe and the eastern countries, where Russia leads the way with every citizen eating around 120 kilos a year.

Back in Europe, second largest consumption was registered in Denmark with 74 kilos, while Luxemburg seems yet to be convinced of the virtues of bread, languishing at the bottom with only 50 kilos.

Martell revealed that last year Germany baked 6.5m tons of bread, accounting for around 25% of the entire output of the EU. Of that figure, rye bread took a 36% share and mixed grain bread got 21% while overall sales of bread and bakery products reached US$21.95bn.

He gave warning however that the industry is facing mounting costs with the increase of raw material, energy and wheat flour costs.

By Clare Harman, just-food.com News Journalist