Why Are Paris Restaurants Being Forced to Give Out Doggy Bags?


Asking for a doggie bag in France will no longer get you an eye roll. (Photo: Thinkstock)

French restaurants may look at the doggie bag as an uncivilized American custom, but they’re going to have to start using them whether they like it or not.

A law went into effect New Year’s Day requiring dining establishments to offer some kind of take-away box if a patron asks for one. It’s meant to cut down on the approximately 7 million tons of food thrown away each year in France – 1 million of that from the food industry.

But will French diners ask for the doggy bags? A 2014 poll found that 75 percent of French are open to the doggy bag, yet 70 percent have never asked for one. French chefs are known to despise the doggy bag – or a bag of any other name – considering it something fit for dogs.

“This is something that won’t catch on in France,” food writer Franck Pinay-Rabaroust told the Telegraph. “Taking leftovers home from a restaurant is unusual here and often frowned upon as an American custom. That may change a bit now that better designed bags are being made that look more chic, but there’s a cultural obstacle.”

Related: How to Eat French Food Like a French Person

The French government hopes to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2025. One French restaurant owner, Xavier Denamur, says the plan won’t work because restaurants there don’t create as much waste.

“We don’t serve huge portions the way they do in America and we hardly throw anything away because we cook everything to order so we never have large quantities of pre-cooked food,” Denamur, owner of four restaurants in Paris’ trendy Marais district, told the Telegraph.

Related: The Trouble with French Restaurant Food

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