2011 College Food Trends: Students Crave Mediterranean, Made-to-Order Fare, Stealth Health, Global Flavors and Apps

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Sodexo research shows students want a say in their college food experience

GAITHERSBURG, Md., February 7, 2011 – Food trends research by Sodexo, leader in Quality of Daily Life Solutions, and foodservice provider to 650 campuses in the United States, finds that college students crave heart-healthy Mediterranean food, chefs preparing their meals while they wait with VIP treatment, old favorites made with healthier ingredients, world cuisine, and using technology for dining.

Sodexo’s culinary team and customer insight experts released a food trends list for 2011:

College Food Trends in 2011

  1. Grilled Chicken Souvlaki Kabob
  2. Paella
  3. Spanakopita
  4. Cous Cous Chicken Stew
  5. Orecchiette with Broccoli and Garbanzo Beans
  6. Fattoush and Sumac (Pita Bread Salad with Tangy Dressing)
  7. Spanish Tomato Bread with Manchego Cheese
  8. Edamame and Corn Salad
  9. Pesto Pasta Bowl
  10. Wild Mushroom Risotto Balls with Pesto Aioli

Mediterranean fare is heart-healthy, exotic, and appeals to vegetarians and omnivores alike. Sodexo’s main resident dining menu offering for the 2011-2012 school year will highlight Mediterranean cuisine. Sodexo will promote its new offer by hosting cultural and culinary events at colleges across the country through its Global Chef program, which will showcase visiting Sodexo chefs from Spain and Italy.

“Sodexo has unparalleled expertise when it comes to world cuisine because we can tap into culinary expertise from chefs in the 80 countries in which we operate,” said Chef Rob Morasco, senior director of offer development for Sodexo Education. “A chef from Spain can visit our North American culinary team to demonstrate the traditional techniques used to create authentic paella, for example.”

Other 2011 trends include stealth health – maintaining traditional flavors while substituting healthier ingredients. That trend is making popular gluten-free pasta and whole wheat and brown rice offerings. Students continue to insist on locally-sourced ingredients.

“Our chefs are creating culinary innovations each and every day to create flavors that are interesting to the college-student palate to enhance their whole experience,” said Tom Post, president of Sodexo Education – Campus. “We’re responding to students who want tailor-made, customizable cuisine, which includes chatting with our chefs while they prepare made-to-order meals.”

Sodexo-served college students will benefit from the growing trend of using technology to accommodate their busy lives. The company is testing its latest e-commerce solution by way of two new iPhone Apps at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash. that eliminate wait times, increase customer engagement and build brand loyalty for two of the company’s Retail Brand Group restaurants, Jazzman’s Café and Bakery and SubConnection. Students can peruse a menu, order, pay and then pick up their food and beverages seamlessly.

Sodexo’s culinary teams at campuses across the country identified the top favorites of college students. Students at the University of Louisville in Crestwood, Ky. crave the unique flavor of authentic Thai cuisine. Students at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Va. like to experiment with Asian and Latino fusion, with lots of fresh avocado. Students at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa. line up for authentic Colombian cuisine, freshly rolled sushi, Vietnamese fare and Tapas, Spanish-style appetizers. Oklahoma City University recently opened the first raw vegan bar on a college campus. At Loyola University and Tulane University in New Orleans, students crave local, sustainable produce and seafood. Students at Emory University in Atlanta love to slather pita with fresh hummus made with locally-grown chick peas. Students at California State University – Monterey Bay in Monterey, Calif. like traditional Hispanic cuisine served daily at Sodexo’s unique taqueria entrée station. Students at Arizona Western College in Yuma, Ariz. have a yen for homemade California rolls, made-to-order wings, and custom Asian cuisine made just the way they want it. Seattle Pacific University students in Seattle, Wash. love fresh local salmon, sushi, and fresh fruit.

Sodexo uses a three-pronged approach to monitoring trends and developing college café menus, which includes researching desired tastes, using our global resources to create authentic flavors, and bringing those flavors to market. Sodexo holds frequent taste-test focus groups with students, and consults with its team of topnotch chefs to develop this list. Sodexo conducted a food trends expo at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa. in late 2010 to solicit feedback. The 2011 College Food Trends list was developed by Sodexo’s Customer Insight team with research from Sodexo’s Student Board of Directors, student food trend expo events, Nielsen’s Annual Restaurant Audit, Teenage Research Unlimited, Technomics Menu Monitor, NPD Group, Sodexo’s culinary team of chefs and vendor partners.


About Sodexo

Sodexo in North America
Sodexo, Inc. (www.sodexoUSA.com), leading Quality of Daily Life Solutions company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, delivers On Site Service Solutions in Corporate, Education, Health Care, Government, and Remote Site segments, as well as Motivation Solutions such as Esteem Pass. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., funds all administrative costs for the Sodexo Foundation (www.SodexoFoundation.org), an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $15 million in grants to fight hunger in America. Visit the corporate blog at www.sodexoUSA.com/blog.

Sodexo, world leader in Quality of Daily Life Solutions
Quality of Life plays an important role in the progress of individuals and the performance of organizations. Based on this conviction, Sodexo acts as the strategic partner for companies and institutions that place a premium on performance and employee well-being, as it has since Pierre Bellon founded the company in 1966. Sharing the same passion for service, Sodexo’s 380,000 employees in 80 countries design, manage and deliver an unrivaled array of On Site Service Solutions and Motivation Solutions. Sodexo has created a new form of service business that contributes to the fulfillment of its employees and the economic, social and environmental development of the communities, regions and countries in which it operates.

Key Figures (as of August 31, 2010)

Sodexo in the World
15.3 billion euro consolidated revenue
380,000 employees
34,000 sites
50 million consumers served daily
80 countries
21st largest employer worldwide

Sodexo in North America
8.0 billion dollars revenue
120,000 employees
10 million consumers served daily
6,000 clients
700 facilities management sites