At one school in Ouistreham teachers have been encouraging children to sit for at least 15 minutes at the table to take their time eating and trying different food which has resulted in the amount of food being wasted cut in half.
The Minister of Food Guillaume Garot visited the canteen at the Aristide Briand school in Ouistreham and said that the aim is to reduce food waste by half in France by 2025. It will mean training caterers to think more about planning and â€˜best beforeâ€™ labels are set to be replaced with an â€˜eat byâ€™ label, he said.
Some schools where they produce their meals on site rather than have them delivered by a large catering company reckon that they can reach the targets more easily. An example is Le Havre which is unique in France as the only city to keep its school kitchens. Its 103 nursery and primary schools prepare 8,600 meals every day. Fresh produce is delivered to the schools every day and the meals are prepared on site by school cooks.
According to the town hall it means that the quality of the school meals are guaranteed and there is also less waste. Menus are prepared according to Franceâ€™s national food nutrition plan but individual cooks also know what the pupils like and take that into account too.
Other tactics used in schools in Le Havre is to serve small portions so that smaller children are not overwhelmed by what is on their plate and they are encouraged to ask for more if they are still hungry.
But there is a downside, the school meals cost more. Overall each meal comes out at â‚¬10 and parents pay half of that making Le Havre costlier than other places in Normandy.
Schools did consider introducing organic food but they were unable to find an organic supplier able to provide the quantities required. However, they do try to use local producers wherever possible and also seasonal food.
In Evreux more organic food is being introduced for the younger pupils. This include lentils, cereals, semolina, wheat, quinoa and bulgur, wholemeal pasta, rice, bread, yogurts, camembert, apples and pears.