Poll finds dining programs affect students' choice of college

college dining

According to a new poll of 1,500 full-time U.S. college and university students by research firm Technomic, Inc., 44 percent of respondents said their school's dining program was at least somewhat important in deciding where to enroll.

The poll also found, however, that only 32 percent of respondents said their college does a good job of ensuring that students are pleased with the dining program.

"Despite the fact that 62 percent of students surveyed say they eat at on-campus dining facilities at least weekly, only 28 percent of students are satisfied with the healthy offerings at their school, and only 34 percent express overall satisfaction with their school's dining facilities," Sara Monnette, director of consumer research at Tectonic, said in a statement.

"Operators on- and off-campus could attract more students and increase the frequency of visits by refining their menus based on students' desires," Monnette said.

Other findings of Technomic's College and University Consumer Trend Report include the following:

    • 48 percent of students strongly agree that they would like more on-campus dining facilities to stay open later at night
    • 20 percent of students said they purchase food or beverages from on-campus food service operations at least once a day, and 62 percent do so at least once a week
    • 47 percent of students polled, compared to 43 percent of those polled in 2009, said it's important to them to be able to omit or substitute ingredients in their food
    • 21 percent of students polled said they limit their consumption of meat by sticking to a vegetarian or vegan diet, eating only certain types of meat, or eating meat only occasionally

    Technomic's College and University Consumer Trend Report includes poll results from 1,500 American students, profiles of 20 leading and innovative college and university food service programs, and menu, concept and marketing trends relating to food service at colleges and universities.