A series of new laws now forbids supermarkets with a floor area of more than 400 square meters from chucking away food that's past its sell-by date or doesn't meet requirements in other ways.
As in Britain, food that can no longer be sold on French supermarket shelves is often destroyed by pouring chemicals on it - destroying food that could help hungry people - but this is now banned.
The country’s National Assembly unanimously voted in the new laws on Thursday. They will force supermarkets to donate discarded food to charity, or to let it be made into compost, energy or animal feed.
Supermarkets must set up a contract with a charity to prove they are keeping to the new rules.
Food waste is a big problem in France: each French person throws away an average of 20 to 30kg of food a year, according to French newspaper L'Express - the equivalent of up to 139 McDonald's Big Macs.
This is wasting $12 to 20 billion euros every year, the paper says, so the government set a radical target three years ago, to half food waste by 2025.
France's Minister for Food, Guillaume Garot, said it was "scandalous" that bleach was being poured onto edible food that supermarkets didn't want, L'Express reported.
Michel-Edouard Leclerc, head of the major French retail distributor Association des Centres Distributeurs E. Leclerc, welcomed the new law but said the industry must help to "organise the collection on the other side" by providing trucks and fridges to distributors.
The UK could learn from the French example: a damning report in 2014 found that 4.3 million tonnes of surplus food is produced each year on these shored – but only two per cent of that goes to charities to feed the hungry.
Around 3.7 million tonnes is destroyed in landfill, thermal treatment and by other methods.
According to the Feeding Britain report, almost 10,000 Cornish pasties were rejected by the supermarket Morrisons in 2014, according to The Independent.
As part of the new French laws, lessons on food waste will now be included in school eduction, and companies will be able to get involved with this.
Not true, say The Trussell Trust. They work with dieticians to design a nutritionally balanced food parcel, but crucially using non-perishable items that can last, unlike American food banks that giver users any old near-dated surplus food.
This was the argument used by millionaire Lord Freud in the House of Lords. But "people can’t just turn up asking for free food, they are referred by professionals"" says Chris Mould, executive chair of the Trust. If someone turns up without a voucher, food bank staff put them in touch with relevant local agencies who can assess whether they need a voucher and signpost them to the right services.
This is the defence that Cameron has oft used in Prime Minister's Questions. The number of people receiving emergency food is disproportionate to the number of new foodbanks opening: last year numbers helped by foodbanks increased by 170% whilst there was only a 76% increase in new foodbanks opening.
Again, this is a common Tory refrain, and one recently examined in the Spectator. Foodbanks obviously don't dispute the first part but they are ‘deeply concerned’ by the growing numbers who are needing them. And many politicians are horrified. "If you had told be at the beginning of my political career that I'd be addressing this kind of problem when I was coming to the end of my career, I'd have been gobsmacked," government poverty tsar Frank Field MP has said.
Over 50% of children living in poverty in the UK are from working households and many of the people helped by foodbanks are in work, with the rising cost of living combined with no rise in wages causing many to hit a crisis where they can’t afford to eat.
This was a refrain heard regularly last week as it emerged Tesco throws away two-thirds of its bagged salad. Firstly, small local food banks often cannot cope with storing perishables. And the Trussell Trust doesn't believe in giving people sub-standard, out-of-date food "simply because they are poor," Mould says. Charity FareShare does work to redistribute surplus food from supermarkets and manufacturers to local charities.
The Trussell Trust receives no government funding and foodbanks are not part of the welfare state. In fact, their foodbanks are advised by head office against entering into contractual agreements with local authorities.
This is the Department of Work and Pensions line. But this has been possible since 2011, so would not explain the latest drastic rise of foodbank use increasing by a third. And the Trussell Trust believes less than 3% of people visiting food banks are referred by Jobcentres.
"If people come to a foodbank more than three times in six months our system automatically flags this so that the foodbank manager can contact their social worker or the service that referred them to make sure that there is a plan in place to help their client break out of poverty," Mould says, The Trust insists that the reality is that without foodbanks people go hungry, and they prevent people from turning to extreme measures such as shoplifting or rummaging through bins in order to eat.
The Trussell Trust is adamant that media coverage does not generate the need. Independent research shows that 1 in 5 mums regularly skip meals to feed their children in the UK today. Widespread evidence from a range of care professionals states that short term hunger is a deep and real problem in the UK. More foodbanks are opening because people are going hungry.