By launching a new version of their “En cuisine” label for institutional catering, the organic-food certification agency Ecocert wants to encourage institutional caterers to take a more qualitative approach by helping them showcase their canteens to consumers.
In late 2020, Ecocert – the world’s largest organic-food certification agency, which is based in L’Isle-Jourdain, in the Gers, in southwestern France – launched a new version of their “En Cuisine” label. The new label will go into effect on January 1, 2022, the date when the EGAlim Law requires a minimum of 20% organic ingredients in order to meet national food standards.
“Our goal is to give institutions keys to facilitate their ecological transition, to help them guide their organizations and to participate in improving the overall health of our children, our regions, and, by extension, the planet,” Ecocert explains.
Created in 2013, the label is the first French guidelines specifically intended for organic institutional catering.
“The point is to guarantee the use of both organic and local products, as well as the quality and nutritional value of the menus, ecological food-service management, clear information about the food served, the efforts being made and the labelling level,” the certifying agency specifies.
- More organic and more local starting in 2022 –
In order to meet the new standards, canteens hoping to be certified have to commit to providing a range of organically grown ingredients, to work with local distribution networks as much as possible in order to reduce their carbon footprint, and to provide balanced nutrition by introducing greater variety, focusing on “home-cooking,” and reducing additives; as well as by establishing concrete measures to reduce food waste. They also have to improve waste management by applying more environmentally friendly policies and measures at every stage (water, energy, packaging, dishes, etc.).
So far, over 2,300 canteens have obtained the label. In 2022, the single label will be divided into three levels: Level 1 will require 20% organic food; Level 2, 40%; Level 3, the most demanding, will require 60% organic products in the kitchen’s menus. Since 2019, a “level of excellence” has been distinguishing the most exemplary kitchens, i.e. those that offer over 80% organic. By October 2020, 42 canteens had obtained that honor. The certified establishments include primary schools (56%), day-care centers (15%), middle schools (8%) and medical institutions (9 %).
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