Liberty University Dining has opened an entirely plant-forward, gluten-free concept called The Hungry Herbivore.
The new concept is in a permanent food truck located in the Tilley Student Center, which previously housed South Street Cheesesteaks.
The switch is a result of student demand for plant-based and gluten-free options, according to the Lynchburg, Va., university, where foodservice is run by Sodexo.
“Many students who are gluten-free had expressed they didn’t get to use their meal plan swipes like everyone else, even with our robust Gluten Intolerant Options (GIO) program,” said Duke Davis, district manager for Liberty Dining. “We heard the same from students who are vegan and vegetarian.”
Additionally, the concept seeks to limit cross contamination and wait times for students with dietary restrictions. Previously, when a gluten-free meal was prepared at a campus retail spot, the staff member would need to leave the main food line, change gloves and prepare the meal separately. But at the Hungry Herbivore, everything is already gluten free, so team members no longer need to take those precautions.
The menu features vegan burgers, vegan eggs, potato patty melts and nachos, all with vegan cheese options.
The Hungry Herbivore is Sodexo’s first 100% gluten-free, plant-forward retail concept on a college campus, according a press release.
“Based on my nationwide research, there are limited restaurants that solely focus on gluten-free and plant-forward as it is extremely difficult to do,” said Sarah Falls, district chef. “We are always striving to come up with innovative concepts which originate at Liberty University.”
Sodexo has set a goal for 42% of its campus offerings company-wide to be plant-based by 2025.