Food and precarity: "Eating a starter, a main course and a dessert makes a real difference"
"We redistribute 70,000 meals a year to people in need," stated Anne Tison who co-founded Excellent Excedents in 2016. This company promotes the social and solidarity economy by collecting unconsumed surplus food from players in the catering sector and delivering them to solidarity associations in the Paris region. "We are the intermediary between about fifteen donors and the associative fabric" As such, the company provides an essential logistical link that ensures the redistribution of healthy unconsumed meals in accordance with hygiene and safety standards.
People in difficulty accept what is given to them, but eating a starter, a main course and a dessert makes a real difference.
“People in difficulty accept what is given to them, but eating a starter, a main course and a dessert makes a real difference," explained Anne. The priority of Excellent Excedents is to distribute 3-course meals. Every day, the company’s three refrigerated trucks make the rounds of several central kitchens to collect surplus foodstuffs: raw vegetables, meat, vegetables, yoghurts, and fresh fruit, etc. In its warehouse in Aubervilliers, Excellent Excedents’ team use the various donations to constitute complete 3-course meals comprising a starter, a cooked dish and a dessert. “Every day, central kitchens cook meals for children and the elderly . This means that the meals we recover are balanced”. Because central kitchens can cook up to 50,000 meals a day, surplus meals are inevitable. Excellent Excedents therefore recovers quality meals, which would otherwise have ended up in the trash. Anne’s motivation is therefore driven not only by "the fight against food precarity, but also against waste! »
This combat is shared by Thomas Stein, head of flows at the central kitchen of Fresnes managed by Elior: “What really breaks my heart is to see the amount of food that gets thrown out at the end of the day." For the past year, his kitchen has produced the equivalent of 100 surplus meals every day. “Excellent Excedents has the logistical means to collect surplus food products from several central kitchens which are then used to create meals,” he stressed. “Sometimes we can only donate certain components of the meal, for example pasta and grated carrots one day, and meat in gravy with yoghurt, another.” Elior’s central kitchen donates meal “components”, such as raw or cooked products that do not in themselves constitute a meal. Excellent Excedents’ efficient traceability system locates and transports these products which it then uses as the basis of a full 3-course meal. In the Paris region, around ten Elior central kitchens donate their food surpluses every day.
What really breaks my heart is to see the amount of food that gets thrown out at the end of the day.
The same evening, these meals are eaten by people in need, via the Restos du Cœur patrols and the Salvation Army’s emergency accommodation center, etc. “Some people who live in the street or who are in difficulty do not eat properly. The associations are therefore interested in these hot, cooked meals,” explained Anne. Excellent Excedents has also forged a partnership with the city of Aubervilliers to create the first solidarity canteen; an "alternative place" that is open to people in need as well as to residents of the neighborhood. This is a place where everyone can lunch together, whatever their social background and age.” The canteen has been installed in a home for the elderly, who can, for example, come and have lunch there with their grandchildren. Another two solidarity canteens are due to open soon. “The dining environment is also essential."