Haro on the clichés: the French love the canteen! This is one of the main lessons to be drawn from the Elabe survey for Sodexo, the catering specialist, which we unveil exclusively (
carried out from June 24 to 29 with 1,002 people, representative of the French population. aged 18 and over, 770 parents of school-going children eating in the canteen, quota method
). Thus, 63% of the parents questioned believe that the quality of the plates has improved in ten years. "To all the questions we have asked, the opinion of the parents is more positive than that of the general population, decrypts Bernard Sananes, president of Elabe. This means that when you experience it, the prejudices fall away. "
Above all, this study recalls the social function of dining halls. 73% of French people believe that they have a “strong impact” on “access for all to healthy food, regardless of the parents' income”. This is one more point when we circumscribe the responses to the parents of students. A large majority also emphasizes “education to eat well” (61%) and “social and cultural mixing” (67%).
Results which can be explained in particular by a “Covid effect”. "The health crisis and the closure of school restaurants last spring reminded us of the essential nature of the canteen, especially with children for whom it is the only balanced meal of the day", estimates Lydia Radix, general manager of schools. and universities at Sodexo. Same story with Bernard Sananes. He also sees in this result the fact that "in an increasingly fractured society, the canteen remains a place of social cohesion".
The EGalim law, passed in 2019, strengthens this social role. The text set the quality conditions for products, especially organic, in the students' menu. “We bring more green vegetables and healthy products to the plates of neighborhood kids,” says Carole Galissant, director of Sodexo's culinary center. Result: more French people think that we eat more balanced in the canteen than at home - 47% against 24% who say the opposite. It is even stronger among respondents from popular categories.