Europe 1 with AFP // Photo credits: ALAIN JOCARD / AFP 11:15 a.m., November 16, 2023

Thierry Marx, one of France's most renowned Michelin-starred chefs, has expressed anger among restaurateurs over the government's decision to extend the use of meal vouchers for food products in supermarkets.

Michelin-starred chef Thierry Marx, president of the main hotel and restaurant employers' union, Umih, is asking to be received "as soon as possible" by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, while Bercy is considering making it possible to buy food products in the supermarket with meal vouchers.

>> ALSO READ - Meal vouchers: Bruno Le Maire envisages "a more global reflection" on their use

The Government is sending a very bad signal to our profession

"With its about-face on the extension of the use of meal vouchers for food products, the government is sending a very bad signal to our profession," he said in a statement sent to AFP on Thursday. "In meal vouchers, there is 'restaurant'. This voucher must remain a lunch aid for employees who do not have a company restaurant. He must not become a caddie title," the chef continues. "I ask to be received as soon as possible by the Prime Minister to convey our incomprehension, our dissatisfaction and our wish for a rapid return to the situation prior to the 2022 law," he added.

In 2022, the law introduced the possibility of buying non-directly consumable food products (flour, pasta, rice, eggs, fish, meat, etc.) in supermarkets with meal vouchers, a derogation that was due to end on 31 December 2023. But faced with the outcry caused by the end of the scheme, Bercy has announced its wish to extend it into 2024, or even to make it permanent.

"In 2023, it's a loss of €200 million for our restaurant owners," estimates the chef, recalling that "in 2023, supermarkets saw their share of the meal voucher market increase by more than 6%" while "that of restaurants decreased by 3%". "I can hear the voices that are being expressed about the usefulness of this title, in times of inflation, for everyday shopping. Inflation concerns all French people. The rise in prices is also impacting our restaurant owners," says Thierry Marx, calling on the government to "design a food voucher or a food voucher to fight inflation and help the most disadvantaged".