Aramark Gears Up For Back-To-School Season On College Campuses

Posted On: 8/28/2019

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BACK TO SCHOOL: Aramark is welcoming back three million higher education students to campus, by introducing a new wave of offerings customized to the ever-changing needs of Gen Zers, including new breakfast and dessert menu items added to True Balance, Aramark's allergen solutions station.

PHILADELPHIA -- Aramark, a foodservice and facilities partner of more than 400 colleges and universities across the U.S., is ready to welcome back three million higher education students to campus by introducing a new wave of offerings customized to the ever-changing needs of Gen Zers.

"Every year, our higher education team members elevate the student experience with custom campus solutions tailored for them," said Jeff Gilliam, president of Aramark's Higher Education business.

Aramark's team of more than 450 higher education chefs develop menus using flavors and food trends from around the world, in-depth research and healthy, fresh and authentic ingredients, to satisfy and expand students' taste buds.

Some highlights of new menu items include:

Sushi Cones -- A new concept that puts a fun spin on a student favorite. Made to order, sushi cones are easy to eat and completely customizable, from the vegetables, to the protein of choice.

Kimchi Quesadilla -- Inspired by a concept that helped lead the popularity of gourmet food trucks, this quesadilla features spicy kimchi, baby spinach, queso fresco and Kogi Salsa Roja.

Beet Hummus -- Alternative hummus options have risen in popularity in the U.S. Beet hummus packs many nutrients and brightens recipes with a subtle, earthy, mildly sweet and smooth flavor.

Cooking Up Meal Kits

Aramark research found that 58% of undergraduates would be very likely or likely to use a meal kit at school, so the company is partnering with Home Chef, the second largest U.S.-based meal kit brand, to offer meal kits as a component of a meal plan this fall. Debuting on 25 campuses this September, the new plan provides meals on campus and meal kits delivered directly to students' doorstep, providing a new solution for those who enjoy or want to learn to cook.

Expanding Allergy Solutions

This academic year, students can expect breakfast and dessert menu items added to True Balance, Aramark's allergen solutions station.

Aramark's culinary team developed six new recipes utilizing products from Enjoy Life Foods, which are entirely gluten free and exclude nuts, dairy and soy. All Enjoy Life foods are free from 14 allergens and are made with 100%, all natural, non-GMO ingredients. Featured recipes include various types of muffins, banana pancakes, chocolate brownies and chocolate chip cookies.

Growing Campus Gardens

Campus gardens are sprouting up across the country, giving students the chance to eat local and see how produce is grown, first-hand. Through innovative technologies, Aramark is helping students embrace a plant-forward lifestyle.

Aeroponic Gardens - At the University of California, Irvine, 30 aeroponic towers grow over 1,320 bunches of vegetables. Harvested every three weeks, the bundles of produce go directly into the dining hall, where they are incorporated into the menu and enjoyed by UCI students. The towers also supply vegetables and herbs for the on-campus food pantry and resource center.

The University of Florida uses two aeroponic tower gardens to grow leafy greens and herbs that are donated to the on-campus food pantry that assists food insecure UF staff, faculty and students who utilize the pantry.

By utilizing aeroponic gardens, campuses are using less water, growing more product and eliminating the use of pesticides.

Freight Farms - East Carolina University's Freight Farm supplies the dining hall with organic produce, grown in a shipping container behind a residence hall. The shipping container provides ideal conditions for seeds to germinate, grow and be ready for harvest in eight weeks.

Use Of Artificial Intelligence

Aramark has expanded its use of artificial intelligence (AI) to college campuses through a partnership with Mashgin, a Palo-Alto, CA-based technology company, that creates express self-checkout kiosks that use computer vision to scan multiple items at once without barcodes.

This technology provides a frictionless customer experience with faster checkout times and shorter lines for the convenience time-pressed students and staff want. Students also can purchase grab-and-go choices without sacrificing a fulfilling meal.

Rolling Food Delivery Onto Campus

Aramark recently acquired Good Uncle , an innovative, app-based on-demand food delivery service that brings freshly prepared, restaurant quality meals to conveniently located pick-up points around college campuses. The addition of this concierge service to the Aramark portfolio furthers the company's commitment to advancing innovation through culinary-and technology-driven solutions that better serve customers and clients.

Good Uncle, launched in 2016, utilizes centralized production and a fleet of specially equipped vehicles to deliver meals to the most popular spots on and off campus. Its world-class culinary team, led by a Michelin-rated chef, crafts a diverse menu of healthy and indulgent items that rotates frequently to keep the experience enticing.