Report Shows More Students Opt to Dine on College Campuses

Published in FSD C&U Spotlight

The number of students opting to stay on campus for their dining needs has increased to pre-recession levels, according to a new report. One of the main reasons for the uptick: menu variety. According to Technomic Inc.’s College and University Trend Report, 69% of students surveyed say they purchase food and beverages from on-campus facilities at least once a week, an increase from 62% in 2011 and near a return to 2009 levels, which were at 71%.

The increase in on-campus dining seems to contradict the report’s other findings, most notably that only 35% of students say they are satisfied with their school’s foodservice program. Kelly Weikel, a senior consumer research manager at Technomic, says the report’s findings show students are more willing to spend on the food items they want, which creates an opportunity for those foodservice operations that are able to meet those needs.

“The foodservice options on campus are not necessarily meeting all of [students’] needs,” Weikel explains. “I think there is a big opportunity for colleges and universities to ask what their students want, to have more feedback and dialogue in order to meet those needs.” 

Weikel says one way many colleges can improve on meeting students’ food needs is by providing a larger variety of menu items. According to the report, the number of students who say they regularly explore new types of food and flavors has increased from 59% in 2011 to 66%. 

In addition to menu variety, Weikel says students are looking for more flexibility in the way they can use their meal plans. According to the report, 44% of students say they wished their school had grocery stores where they could use their meal plan in order to shop. “There’s still a big opportunity for college food operators to grab a greater share of their market,” Weikel says. “And a way that they can do that is by meeting some of the needs that are making students go off campus.” 

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
chili flakes and peppers spicy hot

From Catallia.

When planning your menus, take note: college and university students think spicy is hot.

Fifty-seven percent of consumers age 18-34 find spicy flavors, “extremely appealing,” according to Technomic. And almost 50% of college students surveyed said they would like their schools to offer more ethnic foods and beverages, states a recent Technomic College & University Consumer Trend Report. Translation: they like their food kicked up a notch!

More Options than Ever

“Students of today are all about flavor,” says Steve Mangan, director of dining for...

Industry News & Opinion

Sodexo is partnering with celebrity chef Robert Irvine in an attempt to provide military communities with healthier meals.

The 10-year partnership will allow Sodexo to access chef Irvine’s knowledge of nutrition and fitness in its aim to benefit the quality of life for military members, the vendor said in a news release.

Sodexo hopes that Irvine’s popularity as the host of Food Network’s "Restaurant: Impossible" will draw attention to its commitment to nutrition, health and well being. Irvine also has a military history himself—before embarking on his culinary career, he...

Industry News & Opinion

The cafeteria at the Smithsonian's new National Museum for African American History and Culture is intended to be an extension of the museum, showcasing stations that offer cuisines from different geographic locations such as the Creole coast and agricultural South, Time reports .

The eatery, Sweet Home Cafe, was set up to highlight the wide range of African-American cuisine, Executive Chef Jerome Grant told Time. When it officially opens later this month, it will serve dishes such as shrimp and grits, pan-roasted oysters and a fried catfish po’boy.

Celebrity chef Carla...

Sponsored Content
Pierce boneless wings

From Pierce Chicken.

Spicy chicken wings have taken off as an iconic American food since their debut at the Anchor Bar Restaurant in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1964. They reached a new milestone during Super Bowl 50 weekend in February, when more than 1.3 billion wings were consumed, according to the National Chicken Council.

The emergence of boneless wings—breaded, boneless chunks of chicken breast with zesty flavors—has made a good thing even better. In fact, research shows that boneless wings complement traditional bone-in wings on restaurant menus, boosting the entire wing...

FSD Resources