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Stir it up magazine October 2017

Take the honours! College and university catering is big business and also a big challenge. Competition from the High Street is fierce and on-site caterers face a daily battle to engage with potential customers and keep them on campus. As the new academic year gets underway, we identify the biggest food priorities and trends to consider when catering for students. Mimic the High Street “The beginning of the academic year provides HE and FE institutions with the opportunity to create a strong first impression and set themselves apart from the competition,” advises Matt White, chair of The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) and director of catering, hotel and conference services at the University of Reading. “To stand out from the get-go, it’s imperative that the food and drink offer on campus reflects – and in many cases, goes beyond – that available on the high street.” TUCO’s Global Food and Beverage Trends Report 2017 provides new sources of inspiration to help university caterers differentiate between foodie fads and long-term influences. The three core themes are: • Health for All – whether that’s catering for a gluten-free, low-sugar, vegetarian or vegan diets. Research highlights the growing popularity of this trend, with a third of Brits purchasing free-from products. This is astounding when you consider as little as 5% of the population need to avoid certain food groups for medical reasons. • Conscientious Consuming – there’s no doubt that more people, especially the younger generation, are considering how their individual actions have an impact on the wider society. In fact, research shows that 72% of Gen Z are willing to pay more for products that have a positive social and environmental impact. • Experiential Dining – driven by consumers’ insatiable need to share their experiences with friends and family, whether that’s physically or virtually. HE and FE caterers are exploring ways to make future and existing menus and dining concepts more exciting and shareable on social media. CATEGORY FOCUS OCTOBER 2017 14 “Avocados, beetroot, and falafel are just some of the healthier fillings making their way into breakfast dishes.” Generation Z is the demographic cohort after the Millennials. Demographers typically use starting bir th years ranging from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s. “FRESHER” IDEAS FOR STUDENT CATERING


Stir it up magazine October 2017
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