Sunday, July 13, 2014

Is College Food Getting Better this Fall?

Are you sending your child to college this fall?  If so fresh food is top of mind for most campus dining rooms and that may not save you money, but it may put save a freshman 10 lbs.
Each year for the past ten years Y-Pulse has been tracking foodservice trends through the nation’s leading foodservice directors in the education segments to give food marketers insight on what would shape the tastes of tomorrow’s consumers. We selected and parsed the top 7 findings for you. Here they are:

Transparency Rules the Day Even when it comes to snacking, millennial consumers want fresh and healthy snacks to feed their cravings on demand. Eighty-three percent considered healthfulness an important criterion for the snacks they chose. Today’s consumers want fresh, fast fuel for their bodies. Fresh homemade taste has become the new definition of quality for young consumers.

Wellness as a Way of Life: “Wellness policies have been in place for many years in public schools and in a recent Y-Pulse study, 82% of colleges and universities stated that their campus has a wellness policy or program in place. Of the other 18% that did not have a formal policy, 45% said a program was pending.

Not all Deep Fried: A combi oven in every kitchen is the dream of school foodservice directors. When foodservice directors were asked if they could have one new piece of equipment what would it be; 72% noted a new item of cooking equipment and 37% of those identified a combi oven specifically.

Technology Enabled Connections: In a Y-Pulse study, 95% of foodservice directors in college foodservice said they use social media to connect with their foodservice customers. Eighty-five percent said social media tools are very important or important for promoting foodservice venues.  Foodservice directors are also handling customer feedback in real time to continuously improve the relevance and satisfaction of their foodservice programs. Campus dining apps are popping up everywhere as operators look to connect their offerings with student lifestyles and social media habits. These new apps allow students to track calories and evaluate menus across campus in real time.

Community Enabled: Gardens are becoming part of the culinary landscape as the farm to table movement continues to gain momentum. Schools and community gardens bring people together, and some college campuses are serving up dinner on the farm with locally grown foods.

Cooking Transparency: Display kitchens allow customers to enjoy the experience of seeing their meal being prepared and feel more of a connection to those preparing it. Bringing the kitchen out front has the added advantage of building esteem for the kitchen staff by bringing them out of the back of the house to center stage with customers.

The Global Kitchen: Today’s college age consumers are more diverse and aware of global cultures and cuisines than any previous generation. Yet even 58% of K-12 foodservice directors say that almost all of their students expect to see ethnic foods on the menu regardless of their ethnic background.
Latin, Mediterranean and Asian flavors have been the top three ethnic cuisines for many years. Micro cuisines from all of these regions of the world continue to emerge in surveys of chefs year after year. Just a few years ago, a Y-Pulse study of middle school students indicated that 30% never ate Chinese or Mexican food although classic Italian foods like spaghetti and pasta were among the top scoring favorites.
There is no denying the appeal of classic American comfort food among all consumers. What’s new is how some of the ethnic flavors are finding their way into mainstream American menu items.

Interested in learning how the 5P’s of Food Marketing can edify your retail food brand while creating a platform for consumer convenient meal participationdifferentiation and individualization  Visit or Johnson, or

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