What millennials want: Clean labels

millennial food trends foodservice

From T. Marzetti® Foodservice.

Their dorm rooms might be messy, but today’s college students want dining halls to clean up and offer less-processed, healthier options.

Millennials are leading the booming “free-from” foods trend. Of the participants in a recent Mintel group study, 60% of millennials said they’re concerned about transparency and clean ingredients in the food they eat. Many of them are currently in college, where they are making their own food decisions for the first time, and millennial preferences are clear: fresh ingredients, healthy options and clean labels—even if that means a higher price tag.

Embrace special diets and sustainability

Reports from three industry sources—Foodservice Director Magazine, Technomic and Food Newsfeed—all state that special diets are among the top trends in college and university foodservice for 2017. This includes allergy-conscious diets, including gluten-free and nut-free, personal diet considerations such as vegan and vegetarian menus and religious considerations such as kosher offerings.

Other top college and university food service trends, as identified by Food Newsfeed, center on a sustainability theme. Trends such as sourcing ingredients locally, taking a “farm-to-college” approach to menus, incorporating produce from campus gardens and using clean-label ingredients wherever possible are great ways to stay current.

College kids expect choices

Regardless of any rumors or stereotypes about millennials, one thing is true—the current higher education crowd wants more input about what they eat than their parents and grandparents did.

Customizable offerings such as salad bars, taco bars and grain bowl bars (among other creative build-your-own options) are an easy way to add more choices for collegiate millennials. Try incorporating clean label offerings in customizable dining. It’s a cost-effective way to get started with the clean label trend, and it’s simple: be discerning about the ingredients in your toppings and dressings (items that are most often loaded with synthetic ingredients) to capitalize on already fresh and healthy vegetables and greens.

Sensational marketing strategies: sustainable, clean label

Often, simply knowing what millennials want is just part of the equation. Operators can also show students how sustainability and clean-label trends are being implemented dining halls with these marketing tips:

  1. College and university foodservice social media accounts are a great way to interact with students, get the word out, poll for preferences and raise awareness around sustainable and clean label offerings.
  2. Place signage like posters and table tents in and around dining halls to build extra hype around “free-from” and sustainable foods. 
  3. Make time to educate staff. Ensure chefs and dining hall staff are knowledgeable about clean label options and can engage with—and answer—any student questions.
  4. Take it a step further: Buy some ingredients from local farmers or use campus gardens to source seasonal produce and create buzz around on-trend foodservice program throughout your community.

Start “cleaning up” with easy steps

Not sure where to get started with the clean label trend? T. Marzetti® Foodservice can help. Salad bars are a great place to introduce clean label options and our 32 oz. bottles of delicious clean label dressing fit the bill (not to mention our gallon jugs that equip you to handle any back-of-house dressing application). Gluten-free with no added MSG, high fructose corn syrup, soybean oil, preservatives or artificial flavors, simple, fresh, on-trend salads have never been easier than with Marzetti® Simply Dressed® Dressings.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The School Nutrition Foundation has named its five School Nutrition Heroes for 2018.

The honorees were nominated by their peers and then selected by the SNF for helping end hunger for homeless and low-income students and their families.

Those chosen are:

Paula Angelucci, child nutrition director, Colonial School District; New Castle, Del. Anthony Terrell, culinary specialist, Shelby County Schools; Memphis, Tenn. April Laskey, director of school nutrition, Billerica Public Schools; Billerica, Mass. Lynne Shore, food service director, Willamina School District;...
Sponsored Content
spring desserts

From Bistro Collection® Gourmet Desserts.

Consumers and operators alike often associate seasonal desserts with pumpkin pie, gingerbread and candy canes—after all, winter is a season closely associated with indulgence.

But after the winter holidays, when people are hitting the gym and holding themselves to New Year’s Resolution diets, desserts don’t get as much attention. For operators, this can mean a lag in sales of sweets—but it’s not a lost cause. Updating springtime dessert menus to reflect the change in what diners are looking for can generate excitement and boost...

Industry News & Opinion

Sidney Central School District in Sidney, N.Y., has received $58,783 from the state to improve its farm-to-school program, The Daily Star reports.

The grant will be used to aid in appointing a farm-to-school coordinator and assistant who will help source local farm products for 10 districts in the region for NY Thursday, an initiative where cafeterias attempt to serve meals made entirely by local ingredients every Thursday.

The funding is part of a $12 million award spread among 12 districts throughout the state by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Read the full story via...

Industry News & Opinion

Denver Public Schools has begun posting cooking videos on its Facebook page in an effort to promote the scratch-made meals served in its cafeterias, Denverite reports.

The video tutorials are set up in a similar way to Buzzfeed’s Tasty videos, showing a pair of hands from above as they prepare a meal to background music. The Colorado district promotes the videos with the hashtag #DPSDelicious.

Read the full story via denverite.com .

FSD Resources