“How can we act to make food aid more socially acceptable to certain students and poor workers? »

HASith the incessant rise in prices, more and more French people are finding it difficult to buy food in sufficient quantity and quality. In September, the government will pay emergency aid to beneficiaries of social minima, of 100 euros per household, with an additional 50 euros per child. But that won’t settle the issue.

Solidarity grocery stores, distribution centers and other social canteens are facing a rising wave of applicants. Up to 4 million families, according to INSEE, feed today partly on food collected free of charge.

How can we act to make this food aid more socially acceptable? This is the subject of our research. The United Nations defines food security as a situation of availability of the necessary foodstuffs, but also of social acceptability of this supply of food. However, the current food aid system, which relies mainly on free distributions, sometimes undermines people’s dignity.

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Poor students and workers, who until recently did their shopping normally, now mingle in the queues with people in very precarious situations (social and health difficulties, refugees, etc. ).

tax deduction

The approximately 200,000 volunteers who provide food distributions are required by French and European texts to provide human support for people at the same time. However, faced with the increase in the number of beneficiaries, they often do not have the time today to provide this social and psychological support to those who really need it.

This is where digital tools, often accused of dehumanizing society, could bring a lot. Developed within associations, some would benefit from being used on a large scale for the benefit of people’s dignity.

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We have studied, in particular, an application that puts beneficiaries in direct contact with merchants and donor restaurants (“Dignity in Food Aid Logistics Is Also a Knowledge Management and Digital Matter: Three Inspiring Initiatives in France”, by Pierre-Emmanuel Arduin and Doudja Saïdi-Kabeche, “Sustainability” 2022, 14, 1130).

The principle is somewhat the same as that of an existing consumer application which allows customers to benefit from discounts on end of stock and professionals to avoid having to destroy their unsold items (which is currently illegal ). But here, the users/beneficiaries have nothing to pay, because the traders and the restaurateurs are remunerated by a tax deduction.

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