Should college cafeterias add more tofu and Brussels sprouts to the menu?

What’s does today’s college chowhound crave? A late-night veggie burger from the campus cafeteria, among other things.

That’s one conclusion that can be drawn from a new survey on college-campus eating habits that found that many students want more healthful menu options — and they like them late at night.

According to report’s author, Technomic Inc., the quality of a school’s on-campus dining experience was “at least somewhat important’’ to students in deciding where to enroll. Throw in the fact that US students command more than $300 billion of spending power, and it’s no surprise that “college and university food service is establishing itself as a promising food-service revenue channel,’’ Technomic said in a press release.


(Such findings may be of interest here in the Hub, of course, where colleges and universities are a big part of the local economy.)

When it comes to school food programs, the firm’s survey of roughly 1,500 American students turned up two common beefs: Cafeterias close too early, and they don’t offer enough healthful choices.

According to the data, only 28 percent of of survey respondents are satisfied with the healthy food offerings at their schools, and 21 percent limit their consumption of meat, said Technomic, a Chicago consulting firm that focuses on the restaurant and food-service industries. Another complaint: Students want more opportunities to “customize’’ menu items by omitting or substituting ingredients of their choosing.

Technomic’s press release included a statement from the firm’s director of consumer research, Sara Monnette, who said, “Operators on and off campus could attract more students and increase the frequency of visits by refining their menus based on students’ desires.’’

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