Targeting foodservice on top US university campuses

08 August 2017

The US Foodservice market has evolved and includes many segments that have taken it well beyond the traditional restaurant sector – and into schools, hotels and college campuses. You can forget your “mystery meat” cafeterias of old, with today’s foodservice on college campuses, referred to as “campus dining” in the industry, is a $17 billion business, serving high quality and sustainable foods in cuisines from across the global spectrum.

This expanded sector with a focus on quality produce has created a real opportunity for our Australian grassfed beef and lamb – and it is now served proudly at Stanford, Yale, Harvard and the University of Massachusetts’ renowned dining program. 

One of the toughest challenges these programs have is keeping pace with the cultural and dietary demands of their ever-more-diverse student populations. Lately, perhaps none has been more challenging or less understood than halal.

This growing segment created an opportunity for MLA’s Rob Williams to act as a halal subject matter expert at the recent campus dining’s annual gathering in Nashville.  In a panel presentation alongside the highly regarded Yale University, Rob engaged a full room of campus dining professionals eager to learn about halal – from the basics to product sourcing and marketing, and emphasised Australia’s longstanding expertise in this area.  In a strong sign for our industry, Yale spoke of their partnership with Aussie meats in glowing terms, including the fact that they source lamb and grassfed beef exclusively from Australia.

While MLA is eagerly awaiting the survey responses from the session attendees, the initial feedback from those that approached us were overwhelmingly positive. Many remarked that they were surprised to learn how much halal product is available from Australia, and that it was cost-effective in high-volume operations like campus dining. This positive feedback is a credit to the work of the Australian red meat industry in this area, but also to those within the Middle East North Africa (MENA) market, were MLA in partnership with industry have run numerous successful campaigns, including those involving Chef Tarek, who has helped to bring the many stories of Australian producers to life for those in the Middle East.  

More information

Catherine Golding
MLA Business Development Manager – North America

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