“Glocal” food and college dining
May 7, 2013Food
Today’s college students live in a global society, but want local
foods. They want value and authenticity. They want it all, but at a good
price. Those were a few of the messages from Ron Morasco, an executive
chef who now serves as senior director, offer development – campus
services for food-service company Sodexo USA.
Morasco spoke to last week’s Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders
Summit in Arlington, Virginia, providing a snapshot of food priorities
on college campuses and his company’s challenges in meeting them.
Sodexo, he says, faces some of the same challenges seen across the food
industry – high meat prices, weather-related supply issues and shifting
demand trends. Colleges that contract with the company for food services
want innovation, differentiation and sustainability in the food-supply
chain. However, he says, finances remain the number-one issue for the
Current “hot-button” food issues on college campuses, Morasco says, include the following:
- Local production – Some campuses want 50 percent of their food
sourced within 50 miles. This naturally creates considerable challenges
for suppliers. Sodexo is working to better define “local” in the context
of different types of foods. At the same time, students participate in
global communities and want ethnic foods and ingredients – the “glocal”
- Naturally raised foods are a priority for many students.
- Wellness is a key consideration, with campuses requesting foods low in sodium, trans fats, etc.
- Lean, finely textured beef (LFTB) – When the “pink slime”
controversy broke, Sodexo studied the issue and made a decision to
continue using LFTB in some of their ground-beef products. Their
decision was based in part on sustainability, Morasco says, as they view
LFTB as a means for using as much of the animal as possible. Their
supplier removed the process of using anhydrous ammonia for pathogen
control and substituted other food-safety interventions.
- Sustainable seafood – The company sources 60 percent of its seafood from supply chains certified as sustainable.
- Chicken cages and sow stalls – With the company and its clients
under relentless pressure from animal-rights groups, they are
transitioning toward obtaining products from cage-free poultry suppliers
and pork suppliers who shift away from gestation stalls.
Read the full story from Cattlenetwork's John Maday here.