In France, the recent law Alimentation (Food) entails that the mass catering industry needs to address several issues simultaneously: procure quality products to prepare healthy and well-balanced meals, combat food waste and promote the people who work in the trade to satisfy the human needs in the industry. Sirha proposes a review of these issues and brings the keys to understand them as well as concrete solutions.

They serve more than 3.5 billion meals per year and yet are little known to the general public: ‘they’ are the 300,000 professionals who work in the mass catering industry in France, including 75,000 cooks, who endeavour to adapt to the changes in consumer habits with strong requirements in terms of budget and health regulations as well as follow the contingencies inherent to public sector contracts.

Health and medical-social establishments, as well as school catering represent respectively 47% and 35% of the market. These are areas where a healthy and well-balanced diet is essential, even though the share of products in a meal amounts to €2.

The French ‘Alimentation law’ on food requires that by the year 2022 at least the dishes be composed of at least 50% of virtuous products (bio, fair trade, seasonal) is a major project which concerns all players in the chain, from the producers to the distributors/retailers including the buyers. Indeed, although half mass catering restaurants already use organic products, the share represents only 3% of the overall volume of products.

The aspect of taste is also essential to ensure that the dishes are appreciated by the largest number and to reduce waste. The issue of waste and optimisation of products use is at the core of the sector as it is estimated that between 100 and 170 g per meal end up in the bin, which represents an average of 450 million tonnes of food thrown away each year!

The inter-profession association Restau’Co has been looking into this issue for several years:

At restaurants where we offered the support of waste optimisation specialists we noted that the share of waste dropped by 50% after just a few months. The results were obtained over a short period of time and are sustainable” explains Marie-Cécile Rollin, Director of Restau’Co. The association also works on promoting the image of the unknown chefs. Although their task is to cook for people, their trade is quite different from that of restaurants chefs.

The approach to cooking is significantly different. You must go back to the basics of cuisine technique in order to adapt to the particular requirements. Due to the large number of meals and different types of guests, you need to invent cooking techniques that are specific to mass catering. And for that we need to train people and make them want to work in this sector”. There are 10,000 jobs available each year in the sector in France. The Gargantua contest, which final is held during Sirha, is one of the best assets to fulfil such demand.

Sirha helps professionals in the industry to face the challenges of modern mass catering. Thanks to a series of roundtables, but also the solutions proposed by the exhibitors, practical visitor routes and experts resource hubs, the trade show brings a palette of answers and concrete ideas.

Roundtables staged at Sirha TV: A series of exchanges staged by Sirha TV involving experts and professionals in the mass catering sector will address some of the main issues in the industry:

  • Design theme: Setting up a kitchen
  • Green plate theme: mass catering Free From (gluten, vegan, flexitarian, vegetarian)
  • Green theme: Reducing food waste
  • Green theme: Addressing the French Ambition Bio 2022 project
  • HR theme: Recruitment and loyalty in mass catering

Visitor routes: A themed Visitor Route dedicated to mass catering will be available at the exhibition to guide visitors and help them to easily identify the exhibitors’ new products and solutions for the industry.

Expert ressources and support: Restau’Co will propose a tour focused on the exhibitors offering solutions dedicated to the wellbeing of the guests (nutrition), responsible sourcing, eco-friendly solution (equipment, waste) as well as a demonstration of their Mon Restau Responsable® (my responsible restaurant) programme. 

Exhibitor novelties: Among the new products that will be featured by the exhibitors at Sirha 2019 we have identified for you:

  • Made in France by Electrocalorique: Logistic solutions for serving meals in mass catering establishments with ranges of products designed, developed and made in France for more than 60 years.
  • High-tech bin by L2G-BM Production: A refrigerated stainless steel bin that is 100% hygienic and odourless.
  • Datameal online software, the latest version by Yoni Group: Introducing new features for the latest version of the mass catering management and optimisation tool (production, budget, dietetics, etc.) offering excellent user-friendliness for an unmatched user experience.

The Gargantua contest celebrates 30 years

Launched by Restau’Co, the Gargantua contest aims to distinguish the best mass catering cook in France. After a series of 7 regional qualifying rounds that took place between October 2017 and November 2018, the 16th edition of the national final will be held as part of Sirha on January 29th.

The selection criteria focus on creativity (recipes and presentation of the dishes) and mastery of skills specific to the mass catering industry as well as on the management of a budget and implementation of best practices with respect to hygiene and safety.

Placed under the patronage of Marc Foucher, holder of the ‘Meilleur Ouvrier de France Cuisine 2004’ distinction, the contest promotes the participants’ values of excellence and also relates to the Mon Restau Responsable® programme launched by Restau’Co in 2017 by adopting a more responsible and sustainable approach for the event.

Today, Gargantua is a major event that contributes to ensure that the specific aspects of the job of mass catering cook be recognised and that the trade be duly recognised within the Food Service industry.

Gargantua contest: 29 January – 1 pm – 6 pm
Cuisines en Scène stage – Hall 2