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French ditch pet hate to welcome doggy bags

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French ditch pet hate to welcome doggy bags
Is there a place for doggy bags in French dining culture? Photo: Ipwrangler/Roland/Flickr
16:29 CET+01:00
Long snubbed as the risible trademark of boorish Anglo-Saxon diners, the doggy bag is set to make its appearance in France, a top restaurant body said on Wednesday.

The idea of taking uneaten portions of meals home has been frowned upon for decades in France, but the Union of Hotel Professions (UHP) said doggy bags had become necessary to combat the problem of food waste.

The European Union says restaurant left-overs represent 14 percent of the growing squander.

In a sign that even tradition-bound dogs can learn new tricks, a recent poll in the south-eastern Rhone-Alpes region found that 95 percent of the 2,700 people questioned were prepared to use doggy bags after dining out.

The UHP said it has signed an agreement with the aptly-named TakeAway company to supply restaurants with microwave-friendly boxes and sacks as it seeks to "generalize the use of doggy bags".

SEE ALSO: Why the French don't do restaurant 'doggy bags'

TakeAway is even offering specialized bags in which diners can carry unfinished bottles of wine -- something even shamelessly doggy-bagging American tourists would hesitate to ask for.

A 2012 law sought to increase recycling of waste, forcing restaurants to sort and reduce what they threw away, with wider use of doggy bags being one way of scaling back food waste.

But with France still being France, someone must now come up with an appropriately French rendering of what remains the very Ango-Saxon term "doggy bag".

Speaking to The Local previously, Laurent Calvayrac the founder of a French green packaging company, and a doggy bag proponent, said his countrymen are taught from an early age to eat everything on their plate.

“Like many French people I was raised with the instruction ‘You will finish what I put on your plate’. So even now when I go out to eat, no matter the size of the portion, I finish everything even if I’m full,’ Emballage Vert founder Calvayrac told The Local. “So doggy bags are simply not part of the French way of doing things.”

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