PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As millions of college students prepare to return to campus to start the new school year, they’ll be looking for fresh, nutritious, on-trend food when they hit the books. Aramark (NYSE:ARMK), the award-winning food 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. “Our culinary team puts innovation first, to create healthy, fresh recipes that students love, and we’re excited for students to see what we have in store for them this fall.”
Bringing Trends to Table: Fall Menu Innovation
On-trend, delicious and always changing, Aramark’s campus menus provide options that students crave. As the demand continues to rise, Aramark rises to the challenge by offering well-rounded menus and tapping into the newest flavors on the market.
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 an incredible amount of 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 school1, 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 students who enjoy or want to learn to cook.
Expanding Allergy Solutions
Aramark’s mission of enriching and nourishing lives goes beyond the food being served. The company is committed to making on-campus dining locations safe and inclusive spaces for all students. 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.
Using 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, which creates express self-checkout kiosks that use computer vision to scan multiple items at once without barcodes.
This technology provide 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 exceptional 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.
Providing Frontline Tuition Coverage
Starting this October, the Aramark Frontline Education Program will provide the opportunity for eligible hourly Aramark associates in the U.S. to receive full tuition coverage for college degrees through InStride, the first global learning services enterprise designed specifically to connect prominent employers to leading universities, including Arizona State University.
The program is part of a $90 million investment the company made in its employees earlier this year that also includes targeted wage and benefit increases, as well as additional training and development.
The application process will begin in October 2019 with enrollment for the spring 2020 semester.
To learn more about how Aramark elevates the student experience with custom campus solutions, visit https://www.aramark.com/industries/education/colleges-universities.
Aramark (NYSE: ARMK) proudly serves Fortune 500 companies, world champion sports teams, state-of-the-art healthcare providers, the world’s leading educational institutions, iconic destinations and cultural attractions, and numerous municipalities in 19 countries around the world. Our 270,000 team members deliver experiences that enrich and nourish millions of lives every day through innovative services in food, facilities management and uniforms. We work to put our sustainability goals into action by focusing on initiatives that engage our employees, empower healthy living, preserve our planet and build local communities. Aramark is recognized as one of the World’s Most Admired Companies by FORTUNE, as well as an employer of choice by the Human Rights Campaign and DiversityInc. Learn more at www.aramark.com or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
1 Survey conducted May 2017 among Aramark consumers.