Magazine article University Business

Sustainable Program Offers a Tasty Approach to College Dining: Fresh Ideas Provides University Students with Innovative Meals Made to Order with Fresh, Local Ingredients

Magazine article University Business

Sustainable Program Offers a Tasty Approach to College Dining: Fresh Ideas Provides University Students with Innovative Meals Made to Order with Fresh, Local Ingredients

Article excerpt

Gone is the single cafeteria line in the Maryville University dining hall, with the Missouri institution's students making their way down a familiar row of plates, picking up food not much different from the day before.

Enter Fresh Ideas, featuring a vibrant food hall that offers innovative meals prepared in front of students by culinarians using fresh, local ingredients. Menus change daily and weekly and include gluten-free, vegan and other dietary options, as well as information on allergens and healthy choices.

A game changer

The changes are courtesy of Fresh Ideas Food Service Management, a sustainability-focused operation that doesn't just provide food for students, faculty and staff at the St. Louis school. The company also educates students with Facebook posts encouraging reduced food and container waste. Its interactive online menu allows users to calculate calories and filter menu options based on allergies and dietary choices. Students can use an app to order food that's ready when they arrive at the dining hall and retail locations.

"I've been in this line of work 25 years," says Nina Caldwell, vice president for student life at Maryville University. "What I've found with Fresh Ideas, which is very striking, is their ability to be flexible and aware of the culture of Maryville. They truly embrace and understand what's important to us, which is the student experience."

Fresh Ideas came to Gander Dining Hall in 2010 and now manages the campus snack bar, coffee shop and food section of the convenience store inside the bookstore. …

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