Veggies with a story

Since the beginning, soups, sauces and smoothies have been our answer to overstock fruits and vegetables in order to avoid foodwaste. Today, we are going one step further and highlight products that are often considered “ugly and not conform”. In our eyes, they are not ugly, at best funny looking. We call them our Perfectly Imperfect Veggies.

Uniformity doesn’t taste any better

Nearly half of all fruit and vegetables crops are thrown away before they reach the shelves often because they don’t meet the “standards of beauty” and the definition of “perfection” demanded by supermarkets who require uniformity in their boxes, crates and shelves. Although the straightest carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, beans and eggplants are not tastier, many consumers associate shape to taste, keeping imperfectly shaped veggies from being sold. Perfectly round tomatoes, oranges, apples or melons are no tastier. Yet imperfect fruits often end up in the garbage too.

Welcome perfectly imperfect veggies

This means that a significant portion of the harvest is unfortunately going to waste. In light of this realization, we were determined to help reduce this waste by making this project our next small step.

Luckily, we were not alone. We partnered with Notes de mon Jardin and local farmers who provide us with their imperfect veggies in spirit of “it would be ugly to throw them away”.

New chicken bun with perfectly imperfect veggies

Wanting to bring attention to this food waste, we’ve been working on a new recipe featuring the vegetables no one wants. The new Chicken  & Imperfect Veggies Bun is now available in all of our restaurants. This bun is a multicereal bun with grilled chicken, pickled imperfect veggies, organic gomasio, baby spinach and a spiced sriracha sauce.

Funny veggies

Our perfectly imperfect veggies are unique. Their imperfections make them beautiful. Sometimes, we find wacky and funny looking shapes… So go for the twisted cucumber or the bent bean. They are all the better for it!

Which small steps do you take?

Since vegetables are tastier fresh, they are often thrown away to ensure freshness on the shelves. Did you know that there are also many vegetables that can be kept fresh if they are preserved correctly? In fact, all fresh vegetables can be kept for a few days or even weeks.

Store vegetables like onions and potatoes in a cool, dry place. Find the coolest place in your kitchen or home. Did you know that winter carrots could also be stored for a month?

For other vegetables, it is best to look at their origin: are they typically Mediterranean fruit crops such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini and eggplant? Then store them in a cool, dry place, but not in the fridge.

Are they crops that have been growing here for centuries, like cabbage, spinach or beans? These like to sit unwashed in the fridge drawer and can last a week. As for lettuce, it’s best to wash it while it’s still fresh and place it in the refrigerator, wiped dry, in a plastic bag or closed container, with a piece of paper towel to keep it moist.

You will find many tips online on different ways to better keep vegetables. With these tips, you will find yourself to hardly ever throw away any vegetables while taking a small but important step. Ready to go?

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Take small steps, together with us

For 30 years, we have been trying to take small steps to limit our environmental impact. We are strong believers that these small steps have a real impact. Today, we are inviting you to join us to be better together and to reduce our carbon footprint, one step at a time.

What can you adapt in your daily life? How can you share more with others and with the planet? How can we live in mindfulness by enjoying what is really good for us?

Here are a few simple ideas for you and some examples of small steps that we have already taken at Le Pain Quotidien.

Choose 100% vegan recipes

Our very first menu in 1990 already offered vegan recipes. Its number has only grew through the years. Every day, you can enjoy fresh, seasonal and vegan recipes in our restaurants.

Having one vegan meal a week already has a very positively impact – on top of being absolutely delightful and good for your health. Discover our new 100% vegan bun with oyster mushrooms grown on our coffee grounds together with a vegetal drink. This is.a small savoury step which we are helping you to take!

Choose more organic ingredients

We choose organic ingredients as much as possible. In France, all of our breads and viennoiseries are made with organic flour. All of our fruits and vegetables are also grown organically. Choosing for organic farming, it’s choosing products that are better for your health, without additives and pesticides, fresh, and which respect seasonality.

Less waste

What some might consider as food waste could, in most cases, be reused. For example, our coffee grounds is collected and given to PermaFungi who uses it to grow our organic oyster mushrooms which you can try out in our delicious 100% Vegan Bun.

Zero Waste

  • Reduce & Refuse:  In order not to order too much or produce too much and hence avoid baking products that will go to waste, we are using an IT system that allows us to predict the quantities needed.
  • Reuse: We give a second life to many of our ‘food waste’ such as our coffee grounds or our breads.
  • Recycle: The furniture of all of Le Pain Quotidien restaurants is made based on recycled and natural materials.
What small step do you take?

5 small steps to start your journey: 

  1. Do you already eat vegan? If it is already the case, you are on the right track ! Otherwise, try to choose one vegan dish a week, it is already a good start for your health.
  2. Do you already choose for organic products? Not yet? They truly taste better!
  3. Do you brew your own coffee at home ? In this case, do not throw the coffee grounds away! It is full of benefits which can be re-used in many different ways.
  4. Set yourself a challenge for a month: not to throw your bread and re-use it!
  5. Why not take part in a cleaning operation in your city of on the beach during your holidays to collect misplaced waste? An alternative to your weekly workout.

Inspire your friends and families by sharing #smallstep on social media

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Vegan and tasty: 1 meal a week to make a difference

According to a new trend, everyone of us should be flexitarian. It is about time for us to break it to you… Our menu has been flexitarian since the beginning of Le Pain Quotidien, 30 years ago!

And we wish to go even further to keep on creating new 100% vegan recipes. This does not mean that we will stop using meat, fish and cheese. But the choice will be given to you to go for a tast, healthy  and 100% vegan meal whenever you want. By doing so you will also be taking a small step.

Vegeterian or Vegan ?

Vegeterian dishes do not include any fish or meat but can include cheese, eggs or honey. Vegan dishes do not include any meat, fish, dairy products, eggs or honey. It is a whole new way of cooking which allows to discover other vegetal ingredients and hence, new tastes.

This is what we are striving to achieve in our restaurants: to help you discover new vegetal tastes!

What about flexitarism?

In our menu, vegetarian dishes amount to ¾ of our recipes. Vegan recipes amount to a little less than half. This is a small step that we are taking: we are offering to everyone the choice to reduce their consumption of meat and fish by choosing a tasty, indulging and healthy recipe. For those who want to take a step further and taste our 100% vegan bun with organic oyster mushrooms is a delicious alternative.

Long before “flexitarism” was a thing, I was already vegetarian half the time and vegan the rest of the time.

Eating vegan once a week

Eating vegan once a week is already a small step. You can start at home, then come in to discover our recipes in our restaurants. On top of the 100% vegan bun, you will also be able to choose for other flavourful and healthy recipes. Choosing to eat vegan is also better for your health: you reduce risks of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and obesity.

Better for the environment

Industrial breeding and dairy sectors contribute greatly to climatic change and if nothing changes, they will be amongst the biggest polluters by 2050 and the biggest consumers of water.

If everyone of us were to switch one meal with meat with a vegan meal, we could reduce by 28% the worldwide water consumption. It means that for every plate, we could spare 1500L of water which is equivalent to one shower a day for a whole month.

What are the small steps that you could take?

Benefits of eating vegan once a week are:

  1. Better for your health
  2. Better for the planet
  3. It is delicious! To convince yourself, give a try to our tasty 100% vegan bun with organic oyster mushrooms.

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Vegan Bun with oyster mushrooms grown on our coffee grounds

We were looking for a way to give a second life to our coffee grounds when we crossed path with Permafungi a few years ago. They use our coffee waste as a fertilizer to grow oyster mushrooms. Exactly what we were looking for. Once harvested, we are preparing these organic mushrooms in a brand new and warm recipe which is also 100% vegan. A small steps that tastes like many others.

Vegan and delicious

In our menu, we are preparing many 100% vegan recipes to inspire you and to convince you that eating vegan can also be tasty.

The oyster mushrooms in our bun are caramelized and covered with a special smoked spice sauce. For the meat lovers, this texture and taste will remind you of pulled-pork. These mushrooms are served on a home made vegan bun with fresh salad, tomato and pickled red onions. See how Alain makes it in the video below… 


What are your small steps?

One vegan meal a week already makes a difference. For you and the planet. At Le Pain Quotidien, you can take a small step simply by tasting our 100% vegan bun. Yes, tasty food can also be organic, circular and vegan!

Share your experience with us with the #smallstep

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Coffee grounds are more than waste!

We are always on the look-out for solutions to help us reduce our waste but also to limit it. 

We can all agree that coffee is a valuable product. But so are the coffee grounds. This waste has a lot of virtues and can be used in many different purposes. For example, we are using it to grow our organic oyster mushrooms. This is a small step.

Organic and circular

Le Pain Quotidien and Permafungi decided to start their collaboration in 2017 in Brussels within Tour & Taxis, an old industrial site where both have settled their headquarters.

Their collaboration allows to give coffee grounds a second life. Every week, Permafungi collects 600kg of coffee grounds in our restaurants to grow oyster mushrooms. The full process, from the coffee collection to the harvest of the mushrooms takes approximately 3 weeks. These mushrooms are then used, among others, in our recipes such as our 100% Vegan Bun or in our falafels in our Veggie Bowls.

The oyster mushrooms in our 100% Vegan Bun are grown on the coffee grounds of our restaurants. This coffee grounds is collected in our restaurants and used as is, right in the heart of the city. In doing so, we are closing the loop.

Tons of coffee grounds are tossed away and wasted 

On average, a European citizen consumes 5kg of coffee a year. Which amounts to 3,7 million tons of coffee grounds. Most of which directly ends up in our trash bins. Since 2017, we have already donated 45 tons of coffee grounds to Permafungi. This is a small step

And you, what kind of step are you taking?

Give a second life to our coffee grounds and inspire us with your tips #smallsteps

    To make a coffee fertiliser, mix old grounds with dead grass clippings, brown leaves, or dry straw and spread the mixture around acid-loving plants like azaleas, hydrangeas, rhododendrons, and roses. They will be thankful for the extra minerals contained in the coffee ground.
    To neutralise food odours – be it in the fridge or a sport bag – fill a jar with grounds and place it, uncovered, at the back of the fridge or bag. Coffee grounds can also absorb the strong odours in your garbage. Just fill up an old pair of pantyhose with some dry coffee grounds, and hang the mixture on the inside of your trash can lid.
    Coffee ground is is your go-to when it comes to hard-to-wash kitchen utensils. The abrasive texture will help you to get rid of sticky remains so sprinkle coffee grounds onto a scrub brush and use them as an abrasive to remove stuck-on food from pots, pans, and utensils.
    Replace your store-bought exfoliator with coffee grounds. The abrasiveness of the grounds helps remove dead skin cells, without irritating your face or body. To use, rub the grounds on in the shower, then wash them off with cool water. Tip: Mix with a bit of water or coconut oil to have a natural exfoliant.
    Make a thick paste by adding a bit of water to the ground and rub it onto the scratch. Let it sit for a while, then wipe the extra paste out until you reach the desired colour.

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Better Organic

Since the opening of the first Le Pain Quotidien bakery, organic has always been a priority. Garanteeing quality product is key to us. This goes hand in hand with choosing products and ingredients that are grown from organic farming. Choosing for organic is a promise of a better taste, seasonal and healthy products. It is also taking care of nature and of the earth. Organic is important for us. Are you ready to take a small step?

What does organic mean?

In organic farming, farmers work respectfully of nature. They are always looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact and strive to contribute to preserve the environment and not to harm it by growing products with chemicals and pesticides, additives or GMO. Organic farming allows to produce and grow products ecologically without exhausting the natural resources and to guarantee more harvests in the future.

Always more organic

Today, choosing for organic ingredients is not always easy nor is it always feasible. However, we are not giving up and are always looking for ways to increase our share of organic in our sourcing. We are strong believers that if the demand for organic products increases, more and more farmers will take a step and will turn their farms to organic farming by leaving pesticides behind.

This thinking is also involved in all of our decisions : can we recycle or re-use a product? How ? Our coffee grounds is collected and used to grow oyster mushrooms. This is a perfect example of our philosophy.

Organic flour

In our bakeries, we sell exclusively organic breads. To do so, we have searched organic flour: not an easy one to find. But our breads are the living proof of the wonders that organic farming can do: they are so much tastier. They will give you a longer lasting feeling of fulfillment and can be kept longer. All of this is directly linked to the quality of the flour used that only organic farming can provide.
A small step towards organic ?

Would you like to join the movement ? What are the products that you are purchasing which could be organic? Would you like to learn more about the differences between organic and conventional farming? We highly recommend you the documentary « Kiss The Ground » to know more. #smallsteps

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