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:
1. Study finds defaults effectively promote plant-based dining
The first-ever multi-site research study on plant-based defaults within all-you-care-to-eat dining halls found that switching from a meat-default to a plant-default led to 81% of students choosing plant-based meals and lowered greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 24%. Through surveys, the study by research non-profit Food for Climate League in collaboration with Better Food Foundation, Sodexo and researchers at Boston College also confirmed a secondary benefit of serving plants-by-default—that students, including meat eaters, were significantly more likely to express satisfaction with plant-based meals on days when plant-based meals were the default. According to the researchers, this suggests that in addition to influencing diners’ meal choices, the default also influences their attitudes about plant-based foods, so the normalizing of plant-based foods could make it easier for dining halls to expand their plant-based offerings more comprehensively.
Read more: First-of-Its-Kind Study Led by Food for Climate League and Better Food Foundation Tests Plant-Based Defaults, With Dramatic Results
2. Foods pitched at kids high in sugar, low in nutrients, study finds
Products with marketing that appealed to children were higher in sugars and lower in all other nutrients, according to a study published recently in the journal PLOS One. The study looked at nearly 6,000 packaged foods to analyze their number of marketing strategies aimed at children and their nutritional information.
Read more: Foods and drinks packaged for kids are higher in sugar and lower in nutrition, study shows
3. Campus restaurant relocates off-campus, citing post-COVID dining trends
Asian fusion restaurant Tangled-Noodles and More, which opened at Marquette University in 2015, will leave its campus location in August and reopen as a vendor at an off-campus commercial location in a move motivated in part by an increased demand for takeout and delivery, a byproduct of the COVID-19 pandemic, owner Zhaohui Luo told Urban Milwaukee. “After eight wonderful years on Marquette University’s campus, we have to make changes to adapt to the new business reality after the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to serve our loyal customers,” the company said in a written announcement. At its new location, Tangled will transition to counter-service only and rather than operating its own dining room, it will share an 8,000-sq.-ft. food court with a handful of other locally-owned restaurants.
Read more: Tangled Restaurant Moving to Brewery District
4. Survey tabulates Major League ballpark beer and hot dog price differences
USA Today obtained hot dog and beer prices at 28 MLB stadiums and found that hot dog prices range from $3 to just over $8 among stadiums, while beer prices differ because of where it is sold and because sizes vary. When determined by price per ounce, the Seattle Mariners have the cheapest option at 33 cents per ounce for their 12-ounce cans while the Los Angeles Dodgers have the most expensive, costing 99 cents per ounce for 16-ounce cans. Among hot dogs, The Miami Marlins have the cheapest in the league, costing $3, while the Baltimore Orioles have the most expensive hot dog in baseball at $8.25.
Read more: MLB beer prices by team: See where drinks, hot dogs are cheapest (and most expensive)
5. Duke’s Panda Express to be replaced by allergen-free dining concept
Panda Express will close its doors at Duke University’s Bryan Center location after 15 years when its contract expires at the end of the school year, replaced by a new dining venue called It’s Thyme that specializes in allergen-free options. The new venue will be free of the nine most-common food allergens—peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, milk, eggs, sesame, soy, wheat and fish—and will also not serve products containing gluten.
Read more: Panda Express to be replaced with new allergy-friendly dining locations on West Campus, East Campus
Bonus: Foodservice Heroes who keep stepping up
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]