Technomic’s New College & University Study Reveals Shifts in Campus Foodservice Patronage

Technomic’s latest report on the college and university segment shows that 69 percent of students are purchasing food and beverage from on-campus foodservice facilities once a week or more often, representing a near-return to 2009 on-campus patronage levels (71 percent) following a dip to just 62 percent of students polled in 2011.

“To keep the momentum going, campus dining operators will want to continually focus on improvements to menu variety, prices and atmosphere at on-campus dining venues,” says Darren Tristano, Executive Vice President of Technomic, Inc. “Menu variety in particular is key to retaining student patronage. Our year-over-year data indicates there’s more demand for college and university foodservice menus that feature unique items, ethnic offerings and customization opportunities. Dining programs should work to address these preferences in order to keep valuable foodservice dollars on campus.”


[View larger INFOGRAPHIC: Spotlight on College and University Foodservice]

To help foodservice executives understand the latest consumer behaviors, preferences and attitudes regarding college and university foodservice, Technomic has released a comprehensive update of its College & University Consumer Trend Report. Key findings include:

  • Just 35 percent of students overall say they are satisfied with their school’s dining program.
  • Forty-four percent of students surveyed—and more than half of on-campus residents (57 percent) wish their school had grocery stores where they could shop using their meal plan.
  • Two out of three students (66 percent) regularly explore new types of foods and flavors—up from 59 percent of students who said the same in 2011.
  • Half of students place high importance on the ability to substitute (53 percent) or add (50 percent) ingredients themselves.

Technomic’s College & University Consumer Trend Report provides comprehensive research on the latest menu and consumer trends surrounding on-campus foodservice, organized into four major sections:

Menu Insights—Technomic’s exclusive MenuMonitor data is used to reveal leading menu items, across dayparts and mealparts, at 50 leading universities.

Consumer Insights—an in-depth examination of consumption, attitudes and purchasing decisions for on-campus foodservice based on findings from an exclusive survey of 1,500 full-time students.

Outlook: Trends to Watch—emerging concept and menu trends that are poised to impact the college and university foodservice sector.

Leading University Foodservice Profiles—extensive concept- and menu-positioning profiles for 15 leading colleges and universities with trend-setting foodservice programs and high student meal-plan enrollment.

Note: This post was originally published as a company press release.



Only Technomic delivers a 360° view of the food industry. We drive growth and profitability for our clients by providing the most reliable, consumer-grounded, channel-relevant data with forward-looking strategic insights. Our services range from major research studies and management consulting solutions to online databases and simple fact-finding assignments. Our clients include food manufacturers and distributors, restaurants and retailers, other foodservice organizations, and various institutions aligned with the food industry.

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