UMass Dining teams up with suppliers to debut plant-based incubator program

The program will provide universities with a playbook and other tools to bring more plant-based dishes to campus. So far, over 12 schools have signed up.
plant-based menu items
A sampling of the recipes provided through the The Purpose-Driven Plant-Based Incubator. / Photo courtesy of Nestle Professional

University of Massachusetts Dining has partnered with Nestle Foodservice and plant-based soup supplier Wholesome Crave to launch a new program aimed to accelerate the adoption of plant-based items on higher-ed campuses.

To that end, the program, dubbed The Purpose-Driven Plant-Based Incubator, will provide schools with a playbook, workshops, recipes and more.

More than 12 universities have enrolled in the program for this year, including Kent State University, the University of California at Santa Barbara, Vanderbilt University and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

"Studies done at the UMass Dining Living Laboratory find that Gen Z students increase consumption of plant-forward ingredients when incorporated with authentic global recipes," Ken Toong, executive director of auxiliary enterprises at UMass Amherst. "This latest initiative demonstrates how we can continue to use our culinary expertise and state of the art facilities to drive our industry by inspiring students to enjoy a plant-forward diet now and into the future."

UMass has been a leader when it comes to menuing sustainable dishes and leaning into plant-based cuisine to do so. The school was recently the recipient of a grant to help incorporate climate-friendly kelp into its menu offerings, and it last year began labeling individual dishes with letters corresponding to their respective carbon footprint.



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