French chefs forced to provide doggy bags to reduce food wastage

doogy bag for cafe food france french
New French laws could force cafes, bistros and restaurants to provide doggy bags. Photo by dolgachov, Bigstock

France could soon enforce all restaurants to provide take away or doggy bags to their customers in an attempt to cut down on food wastage. The new initiative also aims to combat the traditional Gallic notion of not taking you meal home after you have dinner at a restaurant.

A parliamentary committee has put forward the compulsory doggy bag policy to be implemented within bistros, cafes and restaurants. Discussion regarding a wider food bill will also be discussed next month following up on the new implementation of the policy. The goal in mind is to have the food wastage of the French population by half in 2025.

The tradition of taking food home from a restaurant is a common practice in many countries such as Australia and the US. The French however have been slow to adopt the trend as it goes against their Gallic traditions. A law that was passed last year strongly recommends that restaurants offer their customers to leave with the remains of their meal.

While we may see doggy bags as a great opportunity for breakfast in the morning, other countries such as France don’t seem to be that open to the idea. The main reason is that there is a psychological barrier in addition to the fear of rejection from the wait staff. There was an earlier campaign to promote doggy bags which was deemed a failure as only 10,000 bags were sold amongst the 180,000 participating restaurants.

French diners have been faced with the notion of love it or leave it for years. This leads to extreme food wastage for the country where on average people waster 5 times more on a meal eating out than they do at home. The statistic showcased that 157g of food is wasted on average on a meal per person.

A recent government report stated that the food wastage from food the French public is costing the average French household €400 per year and the country up to €20 billion annually.

There have been mixed reactions regarding the new initiative amongst chefs and restaurateurs. A lot of chef staff state that people are eating all of their food anyway. In cases where they are not, it simply isn’t practical to take it home. Food such as seafood if not kept properly can leave people ill where they may blame the restaurants.

Other restaurateurs state that the name of the bag need to be changed as it insinuates that it is for animals and not humans. Trends in calling it le gourmet bag have not caught on in an attempt to convince the French public.