The Project

“And suddenly the memory returns. The taste was that of the little crumb of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before church-time), when I went to say good day to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of real or of lime-flower tea. The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it; […]. But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, still, alone, more fragile, but with more vitality, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, ready to remind us, waiting and hoping for their moment, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unfaltering, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.”

“Remembrance of Things Past”, Marcel Proust.

Food waste in France is a significant public issue and is to be considered and tackled seriously. Indeed, each year in this country, food waste amounts to 9M of tons at the global level (distribution, restauration and households), which corresponds to 137 kg/person. Narrowing it to households, food waste represents more than one third of the waste realized along the food chain. In total, 1.3 million tons of food are wasted each year in households, that’s 38 kg wasted each second ! Food waste consequences are as various as they are alarming: it does environmental, social and economic harm. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the cost of food waste for a 4 people household amounts to approximately 400 euros per year, a considerable amount in times of economic crisis. That something needs to be done is quite obvious, the question is what and how. We believe that in order to improve that rather depressing observation, a change of the population’s behavior and mentality must be made. The mass-consumption society we live in does not allow for people to be sensitized enough to the consequences and drawbacks of wasting some much food. The fact that many products are readily available (in terms of price and distribution) does not entice consumers to be careful and definitely increases food waste.

Our Concept

Changing mentalities is one’s greatest challenge, as they are not so easily accessible. First of all, conscious of our limits, we are looking to focus our action on French students. This narrowed scope allows us to have a more realisable impact. XXX consists of cooking sessions held by grandmothers sharing their cookings tips, and teaching students how to cook in a healthy and balanced way. As far as the project might seem from our problem statement, it is in fact not. We assume that grandmothers have been cooking their entire life, and quite often with a limited budget and for an entire family. This premise leads to two assumptions. The first one is that experience has taught them which quantity to use, thereby limiting the chance of cooking too much and wasting afterwards. The second one is that they know how to use what they have at hand and that they are used to cook with seasonal, and sometimes even local products, thereby also limiting the amount of food and packaging waste. This project is two-fold. Indeed, while it will start with classes given in people’s own kitchens, we plan to adapt it to an audiovisual format in order to distribute it on online platforms (Youtube, and even Netflix later on) to widen our scope, raise awareness and have a stronger impact on our generation of students and even on other people. Thanks to the know-how and experience of grandmothers, we aim at indirectly reducing food waste by working on the population’s behavior, and at integrating a genuine social and intergenerational dimension to our project.

Expected Positive Impact

As aforementioned, we are proud to claim that besides the impact on food waste, we have the ambition to contribute to the creation of a social bond between the generation of students and the older one, the elderly being harder to reach and therefore quite often excluded from our daily lives. Students, busy with the unpredictable unwinding of their lives, too often do not feel concerned by this generation. Our hope is that this project will allow them if not to be more engaged, then at least to be more concerned. Furthermore, such a “feel-good” show makes it possible to talk about food waste in an entertaining way, in a “disguised” manner. Besides, our project does not seem out of reach, especially for the first part, as it does not require massive infrastructures or specific skills. Quantitatively, we could measure the impact of our project by analyzing the consumption habits of the students before the cooking lessons and after, in order to have an idea of the reduction (or the increase) of their food waste.

Major Risks and Action

We also evaluated the major threats to our project. One would be the “ethical” dimension, the question of whether we take advantage of the grandmothers helping us. In order to oppose that argument, we would be communicating about the fact that grandmothers are fairly paid. Also, regarding the business model and the revenue stream, we agreed to implement a monthly subscription of 4 euros/month, in order to provide the ingredients and pay the grandmothers. It is therefore important to broadcast quickly the show to be able to get more money (through advertising and platforms) in the upcoming years. We also wondered to which extent students - and firstly Sciences Po students - would be willing to engage in such classes. A survey of Sciences Po students we conducted lead to many positive of not enthusiastic responses to our project and to the whole concept behind it. Conscious that Sciences Po is an agglomerate of international students, the language barrier should not be neglected: subtitles will be added to the videos. Lastly, we wondered how this idea will be welcomed among the cooking media industry and by the organisms fighting against food waste.

Deployment Strategy and Major Milestones

Now it is important to implement a communication strategy to reach Sciences Po and the wider category of students. We should also find the grandmothers willing to cook for us and to make a clear schedule, in accordance with students disponibilities. We do not need to hire any experts in filming or editing, as we already have this skills within our team. However, we should start meeting with productions to talk about and agree on terms for the broadcast of the show.

Return On Investment Analysis

We tried to estimate and detail as concisely as possible how much launching this project will cost, within the three first years. In that light, we put aside all the costs related to filming and broadcasting as we plan to focus on the sessions and the relationship between students and grandmothers first and foremost. Therefore, we estimated our total food expenditure, based on the average monthly food consumption and the expected portion of Sciences Po students targeted each year. We also estimated how much the grandmothers will be paid, in accordance to the legal minimum salary and the number of sessions we wanted, each year. Regarding the revenues, we estimated the total revenues generated by the monthly subscriptions and in order to cover the rest, we plan to get public and private donations, respectively about 40% and 60%.


We will manage to get the state support for our project, scheduling a meeting with the Ministry of Solidarities and Health, which is currently working on a public consultation ( on the reintegration of the elderly within the society. The project follows directly this direction and we can have the chance of being selected. We could also work with NGO’s (Les Petits Frères des Pauvres) and obviously start-ups fighting against food waste and bad nutrition, as Yuka/Too Good To Go. We already know that our project is getting support and credibility among the world chef community. Some showed great interest and will be willing to work with us and give visibility to it.

You’ll find our business model, presentations, interviews and more data that we’ve prepared for this project on the various pages of the website. Enjoy!