Food Security Social Welfare: An Idea Tested In Several French Cities

With inflation, an increasing number of modest-income French people rely on the support of organizations like Restos du Coeur or Secours Populaire to satisfy their hunger. However, a revolutionary idea currently being tested in several French cities could soon change the situation: food social security. We invite you to discover what this entails in 5 questions.

What is the principle of food social security?

As its name suggests, "food social security" is a kind of "common fund" whose operation is inspired by that of the Social Security covering health expenses.

In this system, "each member contributes". They contribute to the common fund according to their means, and the city supplements the funding. In return, each member is allocated an amount they can spend in approved stores.

In which cities is the food social security being experimented with?

Food security, which could one day be implemented widely to combat precarious living conditions, is currently being tested in several cities across France.

After Montpellier, Toulouse, and Bordeaux, it's Paris that will test this revolutionary system in 2024 and will benefit a hundred households. The idea was approved by the Paris Council on November 15, 2023, and will be put into practice starting next year.

In the capital, each beneficiary household will receive €100 to spend in selected stores known for the quality of their supply. Other similar initiatives are also being prepared in villages and cities such as Grenoble and Saint-Étienne.

What are the objectives of this experiment?

While 16% of French people claim not to have enough to eat according to a survey by CREDOC published in May 2023, the primary goal of the food social security system is of course to fight against food insecurity.

But this food bank system has other benefits. It also helps support local producers and sustainable agriculture by selecting partner businesses from among organic cooperatives, for example. In addition to helping beneficiaries fill their shopping baskets, this initiative therefore gives them access to healthy and quality products.

What is the impact of this initiative on the local economy?

More than just a charitable action, the food social security is a revolutionary idea that aims to transform the local economy.

In Montpellier, which is the pioneering city in this field, it is still too early to measure the overall impact of this idea on the local economy, but one can already observe positive effects on participating businesses.

Cooperatives that market local or organic products have seen their turnover increase. In the long run, advocates of this food social security system also hope to have a positive impact on agricultural production and the rural environment.

How can this type of common fund be established?

Currently, the social security system for food is in the experimental stage. The ongoing initiatives in various municipalities in France depend on the political will of the local governments and public funding.

Each municipality is developing its own formula by choosing the system's financing method, the scale of contributions, and the food products to be promoted. However, all these initiatives share the common goal of establishing a sustainable system that would benefit all residents. In this regard, this food social security system differs from food vouchers distributed to targeted population groups.

Like health insurance, this system is not intended to be profitable but rather to meet a population need—a need that is even more pressing in the current context of inflation and purchasing power crisis.

If you want to learn more about this system and the various experiments underway in France, we invite you to visit the website of the Food Social Security Collective (SSA) below.

Author: Audrey
Copyright image: rawpixel
Tags: food, social security, social security system, France, revolutionary, Food security, Paris, Montpellier, CITY, French, French people, inflation, health insurance, beneficiaries, aims, market, organic products, Turnover, rural, experimental, municipalities, municipality, SSA, purchasing power, sustainable, cooperatives, organic, sustainable agriculture, Populaire, hunger, HEALTH, Toulouse, Bordeaux, THE IDEA, capital, beneficiary, Grenoble, Experiment, food insecurity, food bank, rely,
More informations:
In French: La sécurité sociale de l'alimentation : une idée expérimentée dans plusieurs villes de France
En español: La seguridad social de la alimentación: una idea experimentada en varias ciudades de Francia.
In italiano: La sicurezza sociale dell'alimentazione: un'idea sperimentata in diverse città della Francia.
Auf Deutsch: Die soziale Sicherheit der Ernährung: Eine Idee, die in mehreren Städten Frankreichs erprobt wurde.
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