Thursday, April 18, 2024

An Iggy’s baguette, made in Cambridge. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Arguing for the creation of a baked goods subscription service – specifically of baguettes, the crusty French bread good for sandwiches and indulgent snacks with cheese or Nutella – brought advice from savvy reader Lisa McManus: There already is one, and from Cambridge’s own Iggy’s Bread.

Iggy’s has been baking since 1994, and in 1999 the company moved into the old King Arthur Flour warehouse at 130 Fawcett St., Cambridge Highlands. It’s grown to 100 employees from just the two founders, according to a company history, and now has a separate delivery website with all sorts of temptations: bagels, brioche, croissants, cookies, pecan sticky buns and granola in addition to loaves of sourdough, seven-grain and cranberry and pecan breads. It all looks good.

And Iggy’s baguette is very good too, with terrific contrast between the crust and springy interior, which is filled with air pockets that soak up whatever you spread on it or tears away easily if you’re making room for sandwich ingredients. So what’s the problem?

Well, an Iggy’s baguette is $4 at delivery, which is the same price as in the grocery store, and costs another $4 to have delivered, resulting in an $8 loaf of bread. It’s a lot to pay even for good bread brought to you more or less fresh out of the oven, but the real issue is that this is not really a subscription service so much as it is a scheduled delivery service. Delivery is a treat and a luxury, and you expect to pay a premium for the privilege in the sense of a fee that comes atop the regular price; a subscription implies that there will be a price break – a premium in the other sense of the word: an incentive. Subscribe to a magazine and the price plunges compared with the newsstand price; subscribe to a streaming or dating service and you can expect lower rates when you prepay.

Iggy’s is known as “bread of the world,” which it describes as meaning “bread for all people”: “We want everyone to be able to afford our breads, [and] our other products are as low-priced as possible. We want everyone to benefit from the bread’s good taste and its nutritious and healthy effects,” the company says. The baguette is affordable for many at $4; that mission doesn’t scale up to mean everyone will benefit by getting bread dropped off on their doorstep at $8 a loaf.

I’m still looking for a baguette subscription, as opposed to a regular delivery service. I suspect I’ll be looking for a long time.