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Sodexo Outlines College Food Trends

Company's 2011 report highlights ethnic Mediterranean dishes.

College students crave Mediterranean food, world cuisine selections and old favorites made with healthier ingredients, according to the 2011 College Food Trends report from Sodexo. Other preferences include having chefs prepare their meals while they wait with VIP treatment, and using technology to facilitate the dining experience.

Sodexo's culinary team and customer insight experts released a food trends list for 2011 that includes the following dishes from cultures clustered around the Mediterranean Sea…

  • Grilled Chicken Souvlaki Kabob
  • Paella
  • Spanakopita
  • Cous Cous Chicken Stew
  • Orecchiette with Broccoli and Garbanzo Beans
  • Fattoush and Sumac (Pita Bread Salad with Tangy Dressing)
  • Spanish Tomato Bread with Manchego Cheese
  • Edamame and Corn Salad
  • Pesto Pasta Bowl
  • Wild Mushroom Risotto Balls with Pesto Aioli

Sodexo's main resident dining menu offering for the 2011-2012 school year will highlight Mediterranean cuisine and the company will promote it by hosting cultural and culinary events at colleges across the country through its Global Chef program, which will showcase visiting Sodexo chefs from Spain and Italy.

Besides Mediterranean dishes, other 2011 trends include stealth health — maintaining traditional flavors while substituting healthier ingredients, which is driving the popularity of items like gluten-free pasta, whole wheat and brown rice offerings.

On the technology front, Sodexo is testing two new iPhone applications at Gonzaga University that eliminate wait times, increase customer engagement and build brand loyalty for two of the company's Retail Brand Group restaurants, Jazzman's Cafe & Bakery and SubConnection. Students can use the apps to peruse a menu, order, pay and then pick up their food and beverages seamlessly.

The 2011 College Food Trends list was developed by Sodexo's Customer Insight team with research from Sodexo's Student Board of Directors, student food trend expo events, Nielsen's Annual Restaurant Audit, Teenage Research Unlimited, Technomics Menu Monitor, NPD Group, Sodexo's culinary team of chefs and vendor partners.

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