Like many stories, the one about the French doggy bag began on a road trip in the US.
"After breakfast at a restaurant one day the staff put the leftovers in a box that my husband gave to a homeless person. This is how we came up with the idea," says Rabaïa Calvayrac, who is working with her husband Laurent to bring a new kind of doggy bag to France.
"We thought that there are plenty of people like us who go to a restaurant and don't finish their meals, and that there are better alternatives to simply throwing the food away," she tells The Local.
Calvayrac – who was astonished by the sizes of the meals in the US – said that while it's possible to take food home from a restaurant in France it's not common practice.
"In France, there's still some embarrassment associated with taking food home from a restaurant, and when waiters simply wrap it up in aluminium foil people are deterred even more," Calvayrac said.
This is why the two entrepreneurs gave the design of their box a lot of thought, and come up with something that's made in France and 100 percent recyclable.
"It's a high-quality product, simple and elegant," Calvayrac explains. "And we've got a very positive response about the design, both from restaurants and customers."
The white boxes with the caption “Trop bon pour gaspiller” (Too good to waste) can be put in the microwave or oven and are already available in several restaurants across France.
In an effort to reduce food waste, Parisian restaurant Chai 33 has already found the product to be a winner among customers.
“I didn’t expect there to be such a high demand,” the restaurant's marketing head Aurore Malpiece tells The Local. “We have about 100 people a week who ask for a box.”
Malpiece said that both she and her team were after a good quality product that was built to last.
“For now we are covering the costs,” Malpiece said. “But once all costumers ask for them we might have to come up with a different solution since the boxes are quite expensive at €1 each.”
by Simone Flückiger