What’s in vogue in education

Health, wellness and global flavors were among some of the topics that filtered to the top of the latest trends report from Y-Pulse, a division of research and consulting firm Olson Communications. Assessing how the tastes of the under-22 crowd are shaping the menus of tomorrow, the study has examined foodservice trends in the K-12 and college/university education segments for the past 10 years. The report is based upon feedback from multiple foodservice directors and students across the studied segments. Key findings include:

  • The idea of hiding healthy ingredients is going by the wayside—full disclosure and allergen awareness are taking on greater importance.
  • Even when it comes to snacking, millennial consumers want fresh and healthy snacks—83% considered healthfulness an important quality for their snacks.
  • 82% of colleges and universities stated that their campus has a wellness policy or program in place. Of the other 18% that did not have a formal policy, 45% said a program was pending.
  • Successful wellness programs in colleges and universities take a holistic approach including health services, athletics, recreational sports, counseling and residential life, as well as foodservice.
  • 72% of foodservice directors said they would like a new item of cooking equipment—37% of those specifically identified a combi oven.
  • 95% of foodservice directors in colleges said they use social media to connect with customers; 85% said social media tools are very important or important for promoting their venues.
  • 42% of K-12 directors noted that they were seeing more lunches being brought to school; 37% noted that the lunches often contained less healthful choices and items no longer allowed to be served in school serving lines.
  • 58% of K-12 foodservice directors say that almost all of their students expect to see ethnic foods on the menu.
  • Latin, Mediterranean and Asian flavors have been the top three ethnic cuisines for many years, but foods from the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa are gaining interest, such as dates and za’atar.
  • When college students were asked about the factors that are most important when buying food and beverages, the top three were a simple ingredient statement, a company known for ethical practices and sustainability.

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Students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor will be served student-grown produce from the campus farm at dining halls this fall, M Live reports.

The dining team received its first batch of produce from UM’s on-campus farm in June, after students received the proper USDA certification to grow, harvest and deliver food to campus dining halls. In order to figure out what produce is needed, students communicate with the dining department weekly, and Michigan Dining purchases items accordingly.

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From Ovention.

Today’s colleges and universities know they should offer more than a large selection of breakfast cereals in the morning and chicken tenders at lunch to appeal to students. When it comes to what’s trending on campuses, here’s a look at what directors can tune into to boost engagement.

1. Expanded dining hours

Late-night options have long been a popular fixture on college campuses, but if it’s too late, students often choose to venture to off-campus retailers to satisfy their cravings. According to Technomic’s 2017 College & University Consumer Trend...

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