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Foodservice by the Numbers: The Education Segment

Foodservice by the Numbers: The Education Segment


Last Published: 09/12/2019

Foodservice by the Numbers: The Education Segment

Today’s Generation Z students want diverse and customizable offerings


Six in ten people claim that they are now offering new menu items that feature international flavors, according to a recent School Nutrition Association. Ethnic food is incredibly popular with Gen Z, as it's the most diverse generation with a desire for adventure in dining – even at an early age. An additional 26% of respondents say they are considering offering international fare or are planning to test out ethnic cuisine in the cafeteria.

Plant-based beverages, such as “almond milk” and “coconut milk”, consumption has grown by 550% in the past two years for Gen Z customers. Coconut oil, tofu and quinoa, among other plant-based ingredients, are also incredibly popular with this generation.

Answering the Call for More Customization

Fans of tailored experiences, Gen Z students seek customization while dining, and more and more schools are responding to requests for personalized meals. In fact, 68% of respondents in a recent School Nutrition Association report claim that they are offering made-to-order entrée bars and self-serve options that give students greater choice in what they eat.

Salad bars are one way that schools have been tailoring their selections – as Gen Z loves its leafy greens – but the emergence of “flavor stations” where students can customize their meals with various spices and seasonings, condiments and the like are also gaining

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