Trends Shaping Higher Education
Not Your Parents' Dining Hall: Dining options support special diets.
PHOTO © IAKOV FILIMONOV
Campus dining has seen an increase in
dietary food trends — everything from
lifestyle eating preferences (vegan, vegetarian,
halal, kosher, paleo, organic and
sustainable) to supporting the medical
needs of customers with food allergies
and sensitivities. The result is food
service administrators working to meet
these special dietary requirements. For
example, last summer, administrators
at University of California, Berkeley,
opened a food station dedicated to
serving kosher and halal food, as well as
vegetarian and vegan options.
“As our customers become more
diverse and their exposure to different
culinary cuisines increases, they
are more vocal in their expectations,”
says Amy Beckstrom, MBA, CASP,
executive director, Housing & Dining
Services, University of Colorado
Boulder, and NACUFS president.
“Every year we are seeing an increase
in students with food allergies, which
are now considered by law a disability.
This requires us to accommodate
students with documented food
allergies in such a manner as to allow
them the opportunity to experience
college life as close as possible to
those who do not have a disability.
“By providing students an environment
that is more inclusive and
alleviating the stress of whether they
can safely navigate a dining center to
fulfill a basic life need, they are able
to concentrate on their studies and
other aspects of college,” Beckstrom
continues. Equally important, parents
are secure knowing that their students’
needs are being met.
For administrators, successfully
addressing multiple dining trends
serves as a marketing tool for student
recruitment and retention, including
recruitment of international students.