Food Trends on Campus
Don’t let the food fight scene from “Animal House” scare you. The culinary cuisine on campuses has evolved so much over the years that you’d be hard pressed to find someone willing to waste it as ammunition.
Today’s colleges and universities know that cultured coeds not only want tasty food, but expect it. Here are a few trends that are finding their way into campus dining halls across the country.
Flexitarians and Vegetarians. It might sound hypocritical, but there’s a growing movement of vegetarians who consume small amounts of poultry and meat. According to research from Baltimore, MD-based The Vegetarian Resource Group, one in four college students is a vegetarian, making the demand for meatless meals greater than ever. But apparently many who can’t find tofu on campus believe ‘When in Rome …’
Cereal Buffets. Chalk it up to the memories of sitting in front of the TV watching Saturday morning cartoons, but cereal is back! To capitalize on the barely-post-high-school taste buds, national chain Cereality has opened cereal buffets at Arizona State University, in Philadelphia near the University of Pennsylvania, and in Chicago, across the street from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Customers choose from fresh-baked original recipe cereal bars, snack mixes, smoothies, parfaits, or a mix of (hot or cold) cereals. Toppings include everything from fruits and nuts to malted milk balls, as well as multiple kinds of milk, including soy and lactose-free. The cereal is served in milk-tight buckets (think Chinese take-out containers) that you can customize with writing or artwork. The Chicago location has wireless Internet access and staff clad in pajamas! www.cereality.com
Buying Locally. Colleges and universities across the country are showing an interest in supporting the local economy by shifting to buying things like produce meat dairy and eggs from local farmers. At some schools such as Maine’s Colby College the change to local growers came from three factors: students’ insistence; the administration’s emphasis on being ‘environmentally kind’; and because the administration believes that local produce is “healthier fresher and of higher quality.” The movement to buy locally has become so great that the Maine Sustainable Agriculture Society created The Fresh Farm Connection a program to connect Maine farmers and educational institutions in hopes of “sustaining Maine farms boosting local economies and nurturing community.”
Off-Campus Dining. If you get tired of the on-campus food choices you might be able to take advantage of an off-campus meal plan. The Off-Campus Dining Network (OCDN) is now available at more than 33 colleges and universities in the United States. The program allows parents to purchase pre-paid dining cards good at local restaurants (and for delivery or take-out). Unlike traditional college meal plans in which students pay for a semester’s meal plan up front – even if they miss meals – the OCDN allows a remaining balance to be transferred to the next semester. Users also receive discounts and promotions at participating restaurants.