PASCAL POCHARD-CASABIANCA / AFP
1.5 million extra meals served in Crous since the start of the school year, “unheard of” (Photo of students eating at the university restaurant in Corte, Corsica on September 9, 2022)
ECONOMY – Students have been hit hard by the cost of living in recent months, and eating is becoming more and more complicated. According to Dominique Marchand, president of the National Center for University and School Works (Cnous), which in particular manages university restaurants throughout France, participation in these establishments has reached a level ” never seen “she explains in western France. A symptom of student insecurity characterized by the recent years of the Covid crisis and now by galloping inflation.
” We have reached an attendance rate that has never been seen in the history of Crous “says Dominique Marchand who explains it” between last year and in the fall, for the first two months, we see an increase in activity of 17% “, or 1.5 million extra meals. ” This explains the long queues at the entrance to the university restaurants “.
Two meal formulas are available in Crous, a meal is 3.30 euros, and another 1 euro for the most insecure. These have been multiplied by three. “ In September and October, 100,000 €1 meals were distributed to 10,000 non-grant recipients who made this request to us. “, she clarifies.
These meals at this price, ” you can’t find them anywhere else.”
” The number of Fellows eating at our locations has increased by 15%. But above all, there is a sharp increase in the attendance of non-scholarship students. They have measured that these meals, as complete and at this price, cannot be found anywhere else “, continued Dominique Marchand.
The president of Cnous recalls that the cost of producing a meal is eight euros, but is charged 3.30 for students, and he provokes supply difficulties, especially in potatoes due to bad harvests or oil due to the war in Ukraine. When it is not just the suppliers who are unable to deliver the products. “ The Crous restaurants get their supplies via a central purchasing office. On some products, the breaks are significant. Since the menus are planned fifteen days in advance, our teams are in difficulties because they have to adapt to a very high attendance and to orders that are not honored, or not completely”. clarifies Dominique Marchand, also mentioning difficulties in recruiting staff.
It is also a way of responding to the controversy that has affected Crous Bretagne, accused of charging for bread and butter or serving “minimalist” plates and sandwiches. ” This Crous wanted to harmonize its menu between the different locations, and develop the vegetarian offer requested by students (…) We had checked that by leaving the bread in self-service, half ended up in the bin (. ..) I acknowledge, that these measures have not been adequately explained “Admits Dominique Marchand.
According to a study carried out by the association COP1-Solidarités Étudiants, cited by The Parisian56% of the students surveyed admitted to not having enough to eat in general.
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