May 2014 Emerging Trends

This month: USC's burrito vending machine, top 10 dessert trends for 2014 and pizza's brave new world.

Published in FSD Update

USC’s burrito vending machine

Students at the University of Southern California (USC) can now get a burrito from a vending machine. Burritobox, the company that produces the burrito-dispensing machines, contacted the university last year to see if it wanted to be the first college campus with the technology. USC accepted, and the machine went into business in late March.

Kris Klinger, director of USC Hospitality, says the concept was a great fit for the campus. “It’s what students are looking for. It’s convenient, fast, available 24 hours a day, at a good price point and tasty,” he says. The machine is located in Park Side Apartments. Because the dining hall in Park Side closes at 10 p.m., Klinger says the burrito machine will be a good late-night option. Depending on student reaction—the initial response has been “extremely positive,” Klinger says, although a 24-hour free burrito period didn’t hurt—additional machines could be added to campus.

The machines offer five burrito options for $3. Guacamole is available for 75 cents. After students select their burrito, it takes around 60 seconds for the machine to heat it up. 

Pizza’s brave new world

Domino’s might not be the only pizza specialist cancelling its 30-minutes-or-less delivery promise. The US Army Natick Soldier Research, Develop-ment and Engineering Center is close to developing a shelf-stable pizza that would be good for up to three years. Pizza is one of the most requested ready-to-eat meals from soldiers, according to Michelle Richardson, food scientist at Natick. After years of tweaking the sauce, cheese and dough to prevent moisture from seeping into the bread and creating bacteria, the center says it has the right combination. Now, it’s working to perfect the taste. “It pretty much tastes just like a typical pan pizza that you make at home and take out of the oven or the toaster oven,” Jill Bates, who runs the taste lab at Natick, told the New York Post. The only catch? The pie would be served at room temperature. That shouldn’t be too much of a hindrance for another audience that might be eager to try out the product: college students.  

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Hutchinson Middle School in Hutchinson, Minn., invited students to help serve lunch in an effort to encourage their peers to try new, healthy recipes, Hutchinson Leader reports.

The students, who are part of the school’s Students in Action Club, created posters to advertise the new meal and helped serve it to students during lunch.

The school’s kitchen manager, Janet Schmidt, said that around 37 more students than normal got in line to try the meal. The school plans to have students from the club help serve lunch once every month.

Read the full story via Hutchinson...

Industry News & Opinion

In an effort to trim costs, the country’s largest senior living company laid off 100 staff members, including regional dining services directors, reports Senior Housing News .

Not all employees who were laid off will technically leave the company, Senior Housing News notes, as some will be reassigned to alternative positions. Brookdale recently posted third-quarter earnings that fell short of analysts’ expectations and that the company’s CEO called disappointing.

At the end of last year, the Brentwood, Tenn.-based company employed 53,000 workers on a full-time basis, and...

Industry News & Opinion

After receiving mixed feedback from parents, Randolph County School District in Asheboro, N.C., is inviting parents to tour the district’s kitchens and cafeterias to see how the food for school meals is made, Fox 8 reports.

School officials say that the tours, part of the district’s first Food Day for Parents, will give parents an inside look at the upkeep of the facilities, as well as enable them to sample some food and see how the district is upholding USDA guidelines.

Officials also hope that the tours will provide them with more guidance on what parents and students are...

Industry News & Opinion

After fielding complaints from parents and students, Sodexo is launching an initiative to improve dining services at Emerson College in Boston, the Berkeley Beacon reports.

The initiative will kick off this month with an event dubbed Fresh Start, marking the start of several moves aimed at improving service—including the hiring of a new executive chef, the addition of a second sous chef, and retraining current staff on food preparation and presentation.

Members of the Emerson community will also be able to share feedback through the introduction of monthly forums, as well...

FSD Resources