Fruit and vegetable vouchers: “Healthy food should not be reserved for a certain population”

The Covid pandemic – 18 in France file

An association for the defense of consumers proposes to set up fruit and vegetable vouchers to help low-income families ” eat healthier.

The 30 July, for the fifteenth consecutive year , the consumer association Rural Families has published its ” Fresh fruit and vegetable price observatory ” . The latter is based on 111 price records made from 15 to 30 June, in 38 departments, including three in addition -sea. The first observation is as follows: “Excluding cherries, prices overall fell by 8% between June 2015 and June 2021. ”

Good news, quickly overshadowed by the low consumption rate of the French noted by the observatory: “90% children and close to 02% of adults do not follow WHO recommendations to consume at least 320 grams of fruit and vegetables per day and per person. ” To remedy this, the association invites “the public authorities to develop a more ambitious and incentive-based public policy.” And proposes to establish “a fruit and vegetable check for the most modest whose budget does not must integrate this expenditure. ”

An idea already expressed by the Ministry of Health and Solidarity which, in its national health nutrition program 2000 – 2006 , had considered putting in place “fruit and vegetable voucher operations targeted if possible on low-consuming populations, in order to encourage the discovery of these products” And also encouraged last year by the Interprofessional Association of Fruit and Vegetable Trades (Interfel).

Families This time, rural people would like to see the process succeed “from the start” with the adoption of ” an implementing decree under the climate and resilience bill . “We had succeeded in getting parliamentarians to set up a food check, but we want to go a step further”, explains the association. The problem being that currently, according to the association, “alone 30% of adults and 08% of children consume at least 5 fruits and vegetables per day ”.

Low consumption mainly due to the high budget that the purchase of fruit and vegetables can represent for families. “In June, to eat all of 16 fresh fruits and vegetables contained in our basket By respecting the National Health Nutrition Plan (PNNS), a family of two adults and two children had to spend between 97 euros and 195 euros (i.e. between 8% and 15% of a net monthly minimum wage) ”, indicates the report. However, the association offers other options, ensuring that by retaining the five cheapest fruits and vegetables from the basket, a family will spend “only” 52 euros at 86 euros, i.e. between 4% and 7% of a monthly net smic.

Healthy food for all “We are asking the government to assume its responsibilities, in the interest of precarious families, because beyond that to have injunctions that keep being repeated – such as the one indicating to eat five fruits and vegetables a day – we must stop making these families feel guilty, we must help them ”, explains Rural families. “Healthy food should not be reserved for a certain layer of the population who can afford it”, points out the president of the association, Dominique Marmier.

In addition, according to him, a check could constitute a tool to make families aware of the fact of buying fresh, raw, seasonal products, while being a means of prevention for diseases such as obesity. And this without focusing on lowering prices knowing that for the president of the association, “we cannot ask farmers to produce cheaper because ‘There is already an agricultural crisis with incomes which are not up to par. ”

The association must still establish several parameters to propose a concrete measure, so the amount of the checks has not been fixed. As for the beneficiaries, they may have to meet the same criteria as the beneficiaries of the energy check, who constitute nearly 5.5 million households in France. “Everything remains to be defined, but the FNSEA, the main farmers ‘union, and the farmers’ social protection system, the MSA, are also reflecting on the need to in place such a device. The idea must therefore gain ground ”, concedes the president of the association.