Greenpeace France has published in September 2020 a study carried out by BASIC on the environmental benefits of vegetarian menus in French school canteens, one year after the entry into force of the EGAlim law which made their introduction compulsory.

With a billion meals served each year in France, school catering has major repercussions not only on children’s eating habits but also on the agricultural world which produces the food products and, by extension, on all of the population and the environment.

Based on data from the PARCEL tool it has developed, BASIC has analysed the effects of the introduction of vegetarian menus on climate change, water pollution and abstraction, and the risks of deforestation. Assuming that the EGAlim law is fully applied1 and that a mandatory weekly vegetarian menu is served to all pupils from kindergarten to high school, the impacts would already be significant:

  • 14% to 19% reduction in greenhouse gases emitted to produce the food served in canteens;
  • 16% to 18% reduction in water pollution hidden costs linked to agricultural activities that supply the canteens;
  • 8% to 11% reduction in water consumption linked to agricultural production of the food in canteens;
  • 22% to 27% reduction in imports of feed for farm animals in France (and therefore a reduction in the associated risks of imported deforestation).

In addition, the introduction of 2 vegetarian menus per week would also enable:

  • 28% to 38% reduction in greenhouse gas emitted to produce food in canteens;
  • 41% to 51% reduction in imports of feed for farm animals (and therefore a reduction in the associated risk of imported deforestation).

To read the full results of the study, click on the folllowing link: Menus végétariens dans les cantines : quels impacts pour la planète ?

In the French medias:


1 Under the EGAlim law, since November 2019, all French school canteens must offer their students at least one vegetarian meal per week. For the study, it was considered that 100% of canteens apply the law.