Sodexo manager responds to student complaints about lack of healthy fare

University dining services director says his program offers healthy options and actively seeks student input.

Published in FSD Update

Katie Fanuko, Associate Editor

The dining services director at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh has taken issue with a student newspaper report claiming that dining services offers few healthy menu items.

Randy Hedge, dining services director for Sodexo at the university, says the article, which had appeared in The Advance Titan, was “unbalanced.” He claims the reporter only interviewed “a couple of students,” and never contacted his department for comment.

The article, headlined “UWO students seek better food,” identified a lack of healthy food alternatives and high prices as students’ major complaints. The news item had been picked up by Foodservice Director and appeared in a recent e-newsletter.

In disputing the article, Hedge pointed out that healthy options are actually front and center in the Reeve Marketplace, the food court located in the Reeve Union.

“If you go into our food court, the first thing you will see is Garden Toss, which is our salads made to order,” he says. “It is very, very popular.” He adds that less healthy food stations, such as the B&G Grill, are located on the perimeter of the servery.

Noting that it’s a challenge to strike a balance among students’ preferences, “we try to offer a little bit of everything,” Hedge says.

Additionally, dining services seeks students’ suggestions via a campus food committee, which serves as a liaison between students and dining services. Students also can provide feedback to the management team via email.

“We take [students’ comments] into consideration when we do the research, to help us find a direction [for] the concepts that are developed,” Hedge says.

Currently, he says, dining services is surveying students as part of its strategic planning process. Based on responses, his team could plan to reformat nutrition labeling on grab-and-go items, and could incorporate healthier fare in future menus and dining facilities.

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