College students demand healthier food, more customization

August 12, 2011

Campus foodservice is an important component of the college experience, with 44% of college students polled by Technomic indicating that their school’s dining program was at least somewhat important in deciding where to enroll. However, only 32% of students say their school does a good job of making sure students are pleased with the overall dining program.

Sara Monnette, Director of Consumer Research at Technomic, points to significant opportunities for suppliers and operators to grow revenues by appealing to the campus crowd. “Despite the fact that 62% of students surveyed say they eat at on-campus dining facilities at least weekly, only 28% of students are satisfied with the healthy offerings at their school, and only 34% express overall satisfaction with their school’s dining facilities. Operators on and off campus could attract more students and increase the frequency of visits by refining their menus based on students’ desires.”

Some trends Technomic includes in the new report include:

  • Customization is an increasingly critical issue for college diners: nearly half of students polled (47%) compared to just 43% of those polled in 2009 said it is important that they can omit or substitute ingredients in their food.
  • 21% of students limit their consumption of meat by sticking to a vegetarian or vegan diet, eating only certain types of meat, or eating meat only occasionally.
  • 48% of students strongly agree that they would like more on-campus dining facilities to stay open later at night.

Press release