Montpellier: the prices of canteens on a diet from next January without affecting the quality of the meals

Recently voted by the municipal council, the reduction in meal prices for 67% of families will be effective from the start of the school year in January 2023, confirms Marie Massart, school catering assistant.

“The choice to take into account, from now on, the family quotient of the Caf is more advantageous for the parents. It is a political will of the City.” Marie Massart, school catering assistant (EELV), explains that “this allows us to be as close as possible to the financial realities of families, especially those with several children.”

Therefore, from the start of the school year in January 2023, the families of the 22,000 kindergarten and elementary students – “not all of them go to the 87 school restaurants, including 14 self-services” – will have to pay prices between €1.35 and €6. €.55 per meal.

Prices down for 67% of families

Not to mention the price of €0.50 maintained for those in great precariousness. “In the end, the prices will drop for 67% of families.” Marie Massart also explains that “since the introduction of the very social tariff at €0.50 in the summer of 2020, we have seen that children eat more frequently. “

Another practical decision: the modification of the registration at the canteen within ten days. “This measure taken two years ago has, unfortunately, generated a negative effect with an increase in food waste (up to 500 kilos of foodstuffs, or a thousand meals every day, Editor’s note). It is very complicated to change orders and the menus ten days before.”

Meals subsidized up to 96% by the City

Marie Massart therefore insists on the need for parents, under pain of financial penalties, to enroll their children before the school holidays. And as soon as possible… “At the end of August we had only 7,000 registered out of 15,000 for September 1. We had planned a large number but it was very complicated. There are logistics to anticipate.

Quality: local food chains

For several years, the City has been developing a local and regional procurement policy for the foodstuffs served in the canteens. “We have therefore been less impacted by the increase in raw materials. Currently we have 50% organic and/or local products on the menus. The idea is to reach 100% by 2026, which which is quite ambitious. Today we are struggling to find poultry locally. For fish, we work with a fisherman from Grau du Roi for mullet. But it takes time.” With the idea, too, of limiting ultra-processed products. “We are going to test a homemade salad dressing by the end of the year and the aligot from Aveyron.”

The elected official relies on “the public service of school catering which is not a compulsory skill. The real cost of meals is subsidized by 45%, for the wealthiest families, to 96% for the least favored.”

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