Five Food Trends in Campus Dining

Life on campus – and modern life in general – moves fast and changes quickly. In an effort to help you stay on top of it all, we’re here with five trends that are “in” and they’re making their way into the campus dining space.

Vegan & Vegetarian Options

Universities and Colleges are realizing that some students have certain dietary restrictions and that they’re growing in number, quite rapidly. The reasons for avoiding dairy, meat, fish or other animal byproducts could vary from religious reasons, environmental reasons, health consciousness or simply personal preferences. As this group continues to grow, campus dining directors and food service companies are expanding their options to satisfy everyone on campus. Yes, Tofu is here to stay.

Gluten-Free Options

More campuses are now providing Gluten-Free menu items and this means a lot to some students, especially those with gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease.  Although Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity is present in a small percentage of most populations, at about 1% of the US population (Healthline), the increase in the demand for these gluten-free options could be because they are seen as a healthier option compared to traditional bread and wheat products. Whatever the reason, gluten-free options are in demand and the variety of options will continue to increase.

Locally Sourced Ingredients

Fresh ingredients a great dish even better. It’s no surprise that students are demanding locally sourced ingredients in comparison to those coming from halfway across the world. Not only does purchasing locally mean helping local businesses and the surrounding community, it just makes sense to many people. A major value proposition food service providers are now offering is that most of their ingredients are locally sourced and are of the highest quality. Fresh good food will always be in demand, but now it’s a trend that’s combatting global food supply chains that offer lower prices for lower quality ingredients, and students aren’t having it.

Made from Scratch Menu Items

Another value proposition food service providers are utilizing is the “made from scratch daily” movement. This goes hand in hand with the demand for locally sourced ingredients, since it leads to fresher and higher quality meals. Students no longer want frozen pizza or oven ready-made lasagna packaged three months ago; they want fresh and tasty food made right in their campus dining hall. This trend is emerging because students have felt campuses are trying to cut costs by giving students the short end of the stick and they’re speaking up about it now more than ever.

Global Dishes & Flavours

North America is home to numerous cultures and nationalities and their cuisine is an important cultural element. It is no surprise to see Indian Butter Chicken or a Middle Eastern Tabbouleh Salad in a college in rural Missouri or Arkansas. These dishes not only provide a taste of home to the thousands of international students in North America but also provide locals with a break from regular food options of burgers, pizza and garden salad. As cultures continue to mix and intertwine, so will culinary innovations and achievements.

Campus dining is an area which will always be changing as the demand comes from millennials, a group of individuals that are known to push for change. Food service providers and campus Dining Directors should keep an eye out for the latest trends and advancements in student dining.

FIIT POE can help your foodservice and campus dining hall know what students are looking for right away with our feedback and rating system; keeping you one step ahead of the curve.



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