26 | 07 | 2022

Reserving meals in the school canteen, an ecological and economic gesture

What if local governments implemented a meal reservation system for school canteens, in order to effectively fight against food waste?

This is the bet launched since the decree of April 4, 2022, taken for the application of the'Article 256 of the Climate and Resilience Law of August 22, 2021. Several cities are already testing the idea before extending it to the national level: Montpellier, Roubaix, Mèze and Strasbourg testify, for example, to the effectiveness of this reservation.

Ticket system or Internet reservation, advantages and disadvantages of this system, discover with Adoria the modalities of a small revolution in the world of collective catering.

The stakes of meal reservation in school canteens

In France, food waste is a scourge, whether in collective or commercial catering. It is both a waste of money for restaurant owners and an ecological nonsense. Fortunately, solutions are being experimented in several communities and the stakes are high.

An effective fight against food waste

Reservation makes it possible to prepare an adapted number of daily meals by knowing in advance the number of children present in the canteen. With this system, it is possible to divide by 10 the number of meals thrown away. The Ministry of Agriculture and Food estimates that food waste represents between 70 and 100g per child when they eat at the canteen. Add to that the overestimation of the number of meals, and it is thus 30 to 40 e the quantity of dishes that end up in the trash.

This reservation system would drastically limit these losses.

A controlled number of meals for a higher quality

By knowing the number of students present in the canteen, the collective catering can order and produce as accurately as possible, but also reinject the savings thus made into better quality, labeled or local products. Thus, children eat better, waste less and all without spending more. This sensible consumption method is beneficial for everyone. Some cities have already seen student satisfaction increase rapidly thanks to this new system.

Very substantial savings

The calculation is simple, fewer ingredients for fewer prepared meals, the canteens, even by improving the quality of products, will spend less.

According to a hypothesis outlined by the government, based on a school with 500 students, the budgetary savings would be around 100,000 euros after the third year of implementation of this reservation system.

The implementation of the reservation in school canteens

It is a decree of April 4 that sets the framework of the experimentation of this reservation solution in collective catering. This test phase allows to evaluate its effects in school canteens and in collective catering in general.

To participate in this experiment, you just need to apply to the prefect of your region before 1er July 2023 by filling out a file.

The test phase lasts for a minimum of six months and the application can be made on the self-diagnosis section of my-cantine.

How to make the reservation?

For parents of students, simply reserve meals for the year online. To give parents some flexibility, it is possible to cancel a reservation one week in advance.

No doubt that this small organizational constraint will not be a great inconvenience for parents as the ecological and qualitative benefit for the child is important.

A reservation system in line with the EGalim law

This reservation system is in line with the objectives of the EGalim law, which aims to reduce waste, but also to promote healthy and environmentally friendly food.

Elected officials less enthusiastic

Elected officials point the finger at the restrictive side of a device at the national level. Some communities regret the legal framework of a national law when they have already taken action at the local level. This decree would, according to some elected officials, hinder the principle of free administration.

This project also requires human resources to manage reservations and communicate with families.

But on the principle, everyone agrees to welcome the benefits on the ecological level of reserving school canteen meals.

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