More than 6 million meals are taken in schools, institutions and companies’ canteens every year in the Canton of Valais (according to the latest study by the Federal Statistical Office in 2009). Mass catering therefore has a central place in the daily diet of workers and pupils and thus provides a place for education on sustainability and the promotion of local products and concepts of origin, traceability and quality. However, although Switzerland is self-sufficient in food at 56%, it remains one of the countries with the lowest self-supply rate in the world.
Beyond Switzerland’s borders, the issue is also gaining in importance. While the European Union’s public procurement rules often hinder the use of local products in schools and companies’ canteens, the European Commission expressed its wish to make mass catering more sustainable. In its ‘From Farm to Fork’ Strategy, published in May 2020, the Commission announced that it would propose in 2021 mandatory minimum sustainability criteria for the purchase of sustainable food products in schools and public institutions.
‘Cuisinons notre région’ (literally ‘Let’s cook our region’) is an initiative launched in 2015 in Switzerland by the Canton of Valais. Led by the Cantonal Agricultural Service and its School of Agriculture, the initiative aims at promoting the use of local products in collective catering. Learn more about this initiative in our good practice.27 January 2021