Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services has introduced its “Plant-Forward” dining program to help universities provide appetizing, plant-based meal options around the country. The initiative will allow institutions to tailor their dining options and create more inclusive menu options for students.
The Plant-Forward dining program has already seen success in pilot launches at select schools such as Colgate University, St John Fisher College, and Northeastern University.
Plant-Forward dining gives campuses the opportunity to diversify the meat-free dishes they can offer students. Vice President of Sustainability and Culinary Innovation at Chartwells Higher Education, Laura Lapp, explained how today’s students are looking into more vegan and vegetarian options as part of their desire for healthier diets.
“With plant-forward dining, institutions now have access to a versatile program geared toward educating and providing students with the nutritional benefits of a plant-based diet,” she said.
Plant-Forward is also advantageous for student athletes who need to follow a healthier protein-rich meal plan.
Chartwells Steps Up for Gen Z
Before the Plant-Forward initiative, Chartwells Higher Ed’s “ghost kitchens” pilot program gave universities the opportunity to craft creative meal concepts with their existing kitchen spaces and materials without compromising the safety of students. Menu options were integrated into the company’s existing mobile ordering platform.
Schools that were a part of the pilot program included Seattle University, SUNY Buffalo, the University of Utah, the University of Texas at Dallas, and San Jose State University.
Initiatives such as these are important when catering to Gen Z tastes, particularly because a 2020 survey from finder.com, a shopping comparison website, indicated that more than a third had plans to go meat-free by 2021.
Results indicated that 35 percent of Gen Zs were planning to pursue plant-based dining options by 2021, with Millennials following close behind at 32 percent.