France Marseille
Loss and waste
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Sustainable diets & Nutrition

The “Manger Autrement” – “Eat Differently” plan for the middle schools of the Department of the Bouches-du-Rhône


Department of the Bouches-du-Rhône

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School meals in the Bouches-du-Rhône, 135 canteens, for 68,000 students, in the public as well as in the private sector, ie more than 70% of middle school students.


Collective catering is autonomous and self-managed in each school. The majority of state schools choose direct management, and only very few delegate to the public service. Meals are prepared in a central kitchen and then delivered to the establishment either cold or hot, or cooked directly in the school canteen. This second option is favored by the department via aid for the financing of infrastructure and equipment.

In 2017, Martine Vassal, president of the departmental council of the Bouches-du-Rhône, launched the "Charlemagne plan". The plan over the next ten years is to improve the daily conditions of young people in schools in order to help them succeed. Improving catering is one of the key points of this strategic plan, so that middle school students are offered a balanced diet. In this context, the department has reinforced the “Eat differently” system set up in 2006. Schools can join voluntarily and at the end of 2018, 97 of the city's 135 middle schools were members. This system involves various objectives and support measures implemented by the department.

Local and organic supply

In terms of local supply and organic products, the plan aims to strengthen short circuits to enhance local production: by 2022, the department's objective is to increase the certified Organic Agriculture and / or local food offered to 50% .  The consumption of seasonal fruits and vegetables is also recommended.

For this, different tools are made available to schools:

  • The Agrilocal platform, launched in Drôme in 2012, which connects local producers and public buyers. This project promotes short circuits.
  • Increased financial aid for the acquisition of fresh, seasonal products from organic or sustainable agriculture and Provençal terroir: the participating establishments receive financial aid of between 9 -12 € per pupil each year to buy the fruit and vegetables that will be used to make the meals, provided that they are local and seasonal and / or from organic farming.

Healthy meals

The “Eat Differently” plan also aims to promote a balanced, structured and quality diet that guarantees personal development and good health as well as fighting against eating disorders that threaten many young people.

For this, the department supports schools by:

  • establishing collective production kitchens in almost all schools;
  • carrying out work and providing equipment to improve reception conditions in half-board schools;
  • proposing an ambitious and evolving training plan for agents to enhance their professional skills and know-how.
  • offering educational actions aimed at pupils, to teach them good eating habits that are synonymous with good health.

Food Education

The plan of the department also aims to participate in nutrition education, in developing young people’s tastes and in the discovery of local Provencal products. For that:

  • Educational actions aimed at students are organized, to help them develop taste and discover the richness of the Provencal culinary heritage; to teach them good eating habits synonymous with good health; to make them aware of preventing food waste and of learning to consume as future citizens;
  • A nutritional guide for balanced menus and a guide on allergens are made available to students.

Fight against waste

The "Manger Autrement" scheme aims to initiate a citizen-based approach to consumer education, respect for the environment and the fight against waste. For this, various actions are undertaken by the department:

  • Make pupils aware of the need to limit food waste, of a “citizen” consumption mode.
  • Develop a food waste prevention plan within the framework of the European "Life" program and implement the recovery of bio-waste from catering.

These actions have reduced food waste by an average of 30%, going from around 230 g of uneaten food per meal to 160 g. Over a year, this reduction represents a saving of approximately 10 kg per pupil, or 5 tonnes for an establishment of 500 “aware” pupils.

Progressive pricing

In order to allow everyone regular access to the school canteen, the department has set up a support system for the most modest households, through the principle of the school cantine check. This aid is paid to all half-boarder students attending a middle school in the Bouches-du-Rhône, who are beneficiaries of the school scholarship and who eat at least 4 days at half-board (about 16,000 beneficiaries). Since January 1, 2019, the amount of the school cantine check is 252€ per year, or 84€ per academic quarter. The aid received represents 60% of the half-board package.


Cette fiche initiative a été rédigée par Camille Innocenti, volontaire LFC - Mai 2020.

Last modification : 26 May 2020.

Department of the Bouches-du-Rhône

Hôtel du Département 52 av. St Just 13256 Marseille cedex 20

In 2017, Martine Vassal, president of the departmental council of Bouches-du-Rhône, launched the "Charlemagne plan". This consists, in the next ten years, in improving the living conditions of young people in colleges, in order to allow their success. Improving catering is one of the key points of this strategic plan, to provide middle school students with a balanced diet.