Whether for their health, for the animal or for the planet, more and more young people are turning to a vegetarian diet. A diet change that prompts canteens to go green. Last November, the Paris Council approved an agreement that obliges CROUS to strengthen and improve the offer of vegetarian dishes in its Parisian university restaurants. And for the first time, this commitment is accompanied by quantified objectives.
The greening of signs is gaining ground, starting with the capital. On November 18, 2021, the Paris Council approved an agreement binding it to the CROUS and containing several commitments to that effect. This is recommended by the body responsible for student life in Paris 2 daily vegetarian options for each course (starter, main course, dessert) in all its restaurants (university restaurant, administrative restaurant, cafeteria). This approach should also be accompanied by systematic training of chefs in plant-based cooking and strengthening signage on vegetarian offerings.
By 2024, 40% of the meals served in the CROUS will be vegetarian
In addition, the agreement signed in November provides for unprecedented quantified commitments: “de Paris CROUS is committed to ensuring that the share of the supply and consumption of vegetarian dishes is 25, 40 and 50% respectively in 2022, 2024 and 2026”, reports the association Assitetes Végétales. According to this organization, which is committed to greening collective catering, this decision sends a strong signal: “This is the first time that a structure public is committed to a measurable and quantified target for the consumption of vegetarian dishes, analyzes Keyvan Mostafavi, campaign manager of the association. The ecological emergency urges that this example be generalized to all collective catering ».
Vegetable dishes to combat global warming
By signing this agreement, the Paris Council and CROUS want to fight against global warming by changing the content of our plates. As Veggie Plates reminds us, a vegetable plate emits 20 times less CO2 equivalents than a beef-based dish. In France, collective catering serves more than 3 billion meals a year: in other words, a greening of menus can have major consequences. A study conducted by Greenpeace in April 2020 showed that if 50% of meals served in school cafeterias were vegetarian, they would reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 33%.
Assitetes Végétales wants to make Paris an example of this plant-based food transition. While the city is currently reviewing its “Food Plan,” the association has launched an online petition to demand a daily vegetable selection in all community-run collective restaurants from 2022 and 50% vegetable menus by 2026.
The commitment of Paris and the CROUS is historic. Let’s hope it inspires other communities to set concrete and quantified ambitions for healthier, sustainable and ecological menus.