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Stir it up magazine October 2014

EDUCATION Julie Barker, Chair of TUCO >> On-site university catering operations are continuing to ‘plate up’ when it comes to meeting student needs. A poll of over 1,500 students, initiated by The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) and undertaken by Qa Research, has confirmed a steady shift in students’ behaviour in their day-to-day eating and drinking patterns. The ‘Student Eating and Drinking Habits’ report reveals that over 64% of students now regularly use campus catering outlets and convenience stores between midday and 2pm, with 65% enjoying the university canteen and 75% opting to eat in the university café. This number has increased against a backdrop of an increasing threat from the high street, which has grown its store spread by over 10% across the UK in the last two years. Students cite reasons for their choice around cost, value and flexibility as well as the growing choice they are seeing on the counters. With health, wellness and nutrition leading the broad agenda, university caterers have devoted significant thought to this key area across their procurement CHILDREN’S FOOD TRUST LAUNCHES MENU-CHECKING SERVICE FOR SCHOOLS >> The Children’s Food Trust (CFT) has launched a service to help schools guarantee that their menus meet the new school food standards. The menu-checking service gives schools and caterers an easy way to make sure their menus are compliant with the new legal requirements that come into force next year. From January 2015, all local authority maintained schools and academies and free schools in England set up before 2010 and created from June 2014 onwards must meet the new food-based standards. CFT senior nutritionist Claire Wall said: “Our menu-checking service is designed to help caterers and cooks ensure they are meeting the new school food standards. Whether you are developing one or multiple menus, it can take a lot of time and effort to make certain your menus come up to scratch. “Through the service our expert nutritionists will help reassure schools that they are meeting their legal obligations to provide healthy food to children in their care. Our team will check your menus, using their years of experience working with schools and early years settings, and recommend improvements and to support schools in offering the best service possible.” For more information about the Children’s Food Trust’s menu-checking service, email info@childrensfoodtrust.org.uk or call 0114 299 6901. New report reinforces importance & value of on-site university catering policies, and are seeing a return in dividends as health-conscious students find more to attract them on site. The reduction of fats and sugars were seen as more important than organic although ethical and sustainable procurement remains a factor. The research threw up a clear indicator of two profiles of students across the sample of male and female students of varying demographics: 1. Diet Conscious – students who are highly focused and conscious of their diet and this is generally more important to them than convenience and sometimes cost. 2. Convenience – in a juxtaposition of the above, students for whom a healthy diet is not important and who want filling food – at a time when they want it. In responding to these profiles, menu choice has becoming increasingly diverse and sophisticated in order to cater for these needs. However, one common thread is that for both types of students, cost is still a big factor and is recognised as being the single most influencer when deciding on a place to eat and drink. Chair of TUCO, Julie Barker, comments: “The report evidences just how far university catering has come and how important it is for caterers to be right ahead of trends and adapt to need whether in the main canteen facilities, the on-site cafés, across 24-hour vending options and of course fine-dining, which is a growing requirement on-site around events and occasions. “Most importantly, the research shows that caterers are listening to their students and responding with solutions, menu choices and services that resonate with them, in today’s ever-demanding society.” The menu-checking service gives schools and caterers an easy way to make sure their menus are compliant OCTOBER 2014 19


Stir it up magazine October 2014
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