In this edition of 5 Things, Food Management highlights five things you may have missed recently about developments affecting onsite dining.
Here’s your list for today:
- Dartmouth students see meal equivalency value eroding in face of rising meal prices
While both the price of food and the cost of meal plans at Dartmouth have increased with national inflation, the dining dollar allowance within each meal plan has not changed since 2018. That means that students who use retail dining outlets that only accept swipes in the form of meal equivalencies are finding that the equivalencies—$5.25 for the breakfast and late-night meal periods, $7.50 for lunch and $10 for dinner—are not purchasing nearly as much as before because the prices of individual menu items have risen substantially.
Read more: Dining costs steadily rise over past five years in response to inflation, market factors
- Amenity-poor suburban Pennsylvania office market almost 25% vacant
Reflecting the impact of the emerging post-COVID work culture in American business, almost a quarter of the vast Pennsylvania suburban office market is vacant, according to commercial real estate firm CBRE, with more than one million square feet in the Pennsylvania suburbs emptied this year so far and three million square feet in total since early 2020. Unlike urban centers, suburban offices may face stiffer challenges in a post-pandemic recovery, experts say, because many of the buildings are older and unpopular in the tight labor market with corporate bosses and younger employees seeking amenities. Top-of-the-line, or trophy, office buildings with gyms and cafeterias and open spaces still draw tenants, Scott Miller, executive vice president at CBRE, said, but suburban office buildings constructed between the 1970s and early 1990s, with fewer amenities, may not.
Read more: Suburban office parks now have millions of square feet of new vacant offices — enough to fill more than 2 Comcast Centers
- Students taking plates, utensils from dining hall poses cost and waste issues for college
At Rollins College in Florida, the largest waste problem comes missing plates and cutlery as there has been a marked increase in the amount of items like metal utensils and reusable dishes that students take away from the dining hall—even though they are not allowed to—and then not return. According to Director of Dining Services Christina Cabanilla, money spent on dining ware has nearly tripled over the past three years, reaching approximately $200,000 in this most recent year because of “increased turnover.”
“It’s not just a cost issue,” she added. “Think of how many centuries one of those glass or plastic containers is going to stay in a landfill somewhere.”
Read more: Campus dining waste reaches new high
- WSJ report: food inflation forces price increases, menu cutbacks in school meal programs
Many school districts across the country have raised prices for school food by as much as 50 cents a meal this year and some have reduced the number of choices for meals available to students in a cost-cutting measure as school meal programs face ingredient prices that have risen by 50% or more, according to a Wall Street Journal report. For instance, at Boulder Valley School District in Colorado, the cost of flour used by the district has risen 55% since February while dough for pizza has risen 38% since June and corn tortilla chips jumped 53% since August, according to Mary Rochelle, program, grants and communications lead for the district.
Read more: Inflation Hits School Lunches as Districts Cut Menu Items and Raise Meal Prices
- Compass to eliminate gestation crates for pigs in its supply chain by summer 2023
Compass Group, confirms its commitment to eliminate gestation crates for pigs in its US supply chain by Summer 2023. The policy also includes meaningful protections for chickens raised and killed for meat and a commitment to exclusively use eggs from hens not confined to cages.
Read more: Compass Group Releases Groundbreaking Animal Welfare Policy Following Animal Equality Campaign
Bonus: Metz rolls out new dishes and education events for the 2022-23 school year
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]