University Dining Trends

25 Sep

Hi all!

Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start! I’m happy to say that after an extremely hectic previous week, this week is (knock on wood) going 100% more smoothly. That’s always something to keep in mind; when things get tough, just know that it won’t last forever and good things will soon be on the way. Life is full of ups and downs!

I promised a while back to share some things I have been learning in my Food Production and Management class this semester so today’s post is all about University Dining Trends. I pulled some pics directly from my professor’s slideshow so give you guys a look!

According to the NRA, the top 10 menu trends for 2012 will be:

  1. Locally sourced meats and seafood
  2. Locally grown produce
  3. Healthful kid’s meals
  4. Hyper-local items
  5. Sustainability as a culinary theme
  6. Children’s nutrition as a culinary theme
  7. Gluten-free/food allergy conscious items
  8. Locally produced wine and beer
  9. Sustainable seafood
  10. Whole grain items in kid’s meals

This info as foodies should make us all pretty happy!

After going over more general trends, we looked more closely at college dining life. I have gotten to see a lot of the current happens regarding college food from living in the dorms last year which included a dining hall meal plan, and now working behind the scenes in one of the dining halls. For my school at least, there are a lot of positive changes I have seen first-hand in the way of offering a large variety of foods,  healthier options, vegetarian choices, different cuisines, etc. I have to say I am quite impressed at how things are progressing! I’m sure there are school colleges that might be a bit behind on the trends, but I feel confident that we are headed in the right direction.

Here’s a look at some of the newer layouts of university cafeterias around the U.S.:

University of Washington:




Purdue University:





Virginia Commonwealth University:




Not too shabby, eh? They look like straight up restaurants to me! That’s definitely not what I think of when I hear the word “cafeteria.” It’s cool to see the progress that has been made over time and see the fun stuff that some college students are enjoying right now! Our K-state dining director says that ours is on the way to looking very similar to some of these pictures within the next few years. Oh, you mean right after I graduate? My timing is just superb, haha.

Did/Do you enjoy your college dining options?



8 Responses to “University Dining Trends”

  1. Lisa September 25, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

    Those are pretty great set-ups. In my dorm I had a fridge, microwave, and oven, and all that so I didn’t have to worry too much. However, our dining options weren’t the best. I never ate there too often, but I was also extremely unhealthy in college ha.

  2. This Life Is Sparkling September 25, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

    I went to Purdue for my first semester of college and their dining halls are AMAZING. That’s definitely the one thing I miss about transferring schools 😉

  3. thisfitchick September 25, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

    Loved this post! My University NEEDS AN UPGRADE! I think the BEST dining uni I visited was UC Davis !

  4. Jasmine September 26, 2012 at 1:25 am #

    I wish I had a great dining service like those! My school is a small one, so we only have one main cafeteria and another “fast food” place. and the food is horrible 😦 and they make us pay almost a thousand dollars for it! Ironically enough, this morning I met with the director to get out of the meal plan (I literally go to the “salad bar” every time…everything else is horrible…..). No luck.. All schools need those healthy, whole food options!!

  5. Meg September 26, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    babe! gah I miss you so much 😦 tagging you in today’s post ❤

  6. plateitnclimb September 26, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    I go to VT and we just opened a GREAT new dining hall with a hibachi grill, a custom sushi place, an amazing salad creation, Qudoba, Brueggars Bagels, a wood fire pizza place, jamba juice, and a great grill with a full carvery! We are top of the line I must say!

  7. jessielovestorun September 26, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    What great dining halls! If only all of them would be this good.

  8. Chelsea @ Chelsea Runs September 26, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

    We have awesome dining halls! Yesterday we had our “eat local challenge” and had locally sourced seafood and vegetables. 🙂 We also have a board which lists all the local products that are in our meals.. We have a giant salad bar, a sandwich bar, a grill, hot food, and gluten free/vegan fridge. It’s really great for such a small school!

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