French restaurants hounded into using 'doggy bags'

PARIS (AFP) - Long snubbed as the risible trademark of boorish Anglo-Saxon diners, the 'doggy bag' is set to make its appearance in France, a top restaurant body said Wednesday.

The idea of taking uneaten portions of meals home has been frowned upon for decades in France, but the Union of Hotel Professions (UHP) said doggy bags had become necessary to combat the problem of food waste.

The European Union says restaurant leftovers represent 14 per cent of the growing squander.

In a sign that even tradition-bound dogs can learn new tricks, a recent poll in the south-eastern Rhone-Alpes region found that 95 per cent of the 2,700 people questioned were prepared to use doggy bags after dining out.

The UHP said it has signed an agreement with the aptly-named TakeAway company to supply restaurants with microwave-friendly boxes and sacks as it seeks to "generalise the use of doggy bags".

TakeAway is even offering specialised bags in which diners can carry unfinished bottles of wine - something even shamelessly doggy-bagging American tourists would hesitate to ask for.

A 2012 law sought to increase recycling of waste, forcing restaurants to sort and reduce what they threw away, with wider use of doggy bags being one way of scaling back food waste.

But with France still being France, someone must now come up with an appropriately French rendering of what remains the very Ango-Saxon term "doggy bag".