In Normandy, an “empty plate” challenge in school canteens to fight against food waste



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The waste of food products in France is estimated at ten million tonnes per year, and probably even a little more. To change things, we must educate the youngest. Several schools in Normandy have challenged students to throw away as little as possible. In Giberville, in Calvados, the class which has wasted the least food will be able to choose its ideal menu. #TheyHaveTheSolution

That lunchtime, at the Giberville canteen in Calvados, it was a vegetarian menu. Probably not the ideal menu for children, but here, chef Ludovic Lebon has his little tricks to make them eat everything: “The solution that doesn’t seem bad to me is to put the money (sic) on the spices. We’re going to have cauliflower, broccoli, it’s going to be a little shunned, but with the addition of spices it helps to enhance, to redirect the taste a little bit, and olfactory it’s more interesting“.

For several years, the establishment has taken up the “empty plate” challenge to fight against food waste. It is estimated that every year in France, ten million tons of food are lost or wasted. To reverse the trend, at a time when international political tensions threaten, even more, the already unequal supply of food raw materials on a planetary scale, it is important to sensitize the younger generations to the problem.

Among the measures taken at the Giberville school to combat this waste, the quantity served on the plates has been adapted to the age and appetite of the children. Another effective measure according to canteen officials, the quantity of bread served has been halved. “We no longer put the bread on the table before the service, we wait for them to be served as a starter. What prevents them from eating bread rather than eating the meal that we spent all morning preparing“, explains the chef.

And for one week, the anti-waste week, everything left on the plates is weighed. The class that has the least wasted will have the right to order its ideal menu. For one of them, it will be cotton candy, fries and nuggets. There we are sure at least that they will not throw anything.

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