May 2014 Emerging Trends

Published in FSD Update

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

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.  

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