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University foodservice moves to the top of the class, reports Mintel

CHICAGO April 24, 2012 recent Mintel research

Eric Giandelone

Lighter meals are the most popular option for on-campus diners, with sandwiches (61%) leading the pack as most ordered for the on-the-go lifestyle of students. Salads are also a popular preference (42%), but would be best served as a to-go alternative versus the standard all-you-can-eat option.

Female students are more likely than male students to opt for healthier choices, such as salads (46% vs. 35%), however, they also have a sweet tooth and are more likely than males to get a baked good/pastry or ice cream dessert. Men, on the other hand, are less healthy with their on-campus food choices and are notably more likely than women to order French fries (36% vs. 30%) or cheeseburgers (26% vs. 18%).

Ultimately, when it comes to top restaurant attributes, price is top-of-mind for student diners.

Eric Giandelone

Some 86% of students claim price was the most important factor when selecting their eating destination, followed by menu selection, convenient location and cuisine type (74%, 71% and 68%, respectively). While, not overly important to students now – some 6% of students made their choice based on local ingredient usage and 4% on the use of fair trade products. This corresponds with the local, sustainable and green movements that the foodservice industry is seeing as a whole.

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