For several days, children in some French municipalities in the Beziers region have had to go without dessert in the cafeteria. Sometimes they also have to do without cheese or an appetizer.
On Friday, the pears, the dessert that was on the menu, were not delivered, Yannick Hivin, director general of the local council in Agde, a municipality in Beziers, told French news portal 20Minutes.fr.
On Monday afternoon, a dairy product was missing. "This is a unilateral decision by the supplier," Hivin said. "The children must not be taken hostage because of rising food prices," he added.
The parents of the students also have difficulty accepting the sudden thinning of the menus. "What bothers me is that you pay for a service that is no longer provided," one mother told 20Minuten.fr. A father told the newspaper, "My daughter regularly tells me she is very hungry."
The general manager of canteen supplier SHCB, Thierry Pompanon, told news outlet France Bleue on Friday that his company was not "in extortion mode, but in survival mode."
Pompanon pointed out that prices have been pushed down by municipalities for years. It is now a business with no margins, he said. "We have between 3% and 5% profit margins at best. We have suppliers passing on price increases that we can't pass on to our customers," he added.
According to the general manager, SHCB loses about €100,000 ($104,000) each month in supplies to Agde alone due to inflation.