Dining Services seeks organic food supplier

Dining Services is looking for a company that can supply organic food for Market Square next year, a dining services official said.

Legia Abato, Sodexo district marketing manager, said it is unknown if meal plan prices would increase if organic food was offered at Market Square because Dining Services is still in the planning and research stage. She said Dining Services is looking for organic suppliers in the area.

“Ideally, a local vender would be best,” Abato said. “I don’t know for sure if there are organic suppliers in the area. Last year no one was registered.”

The only place on campus that organic food can be purchased is the Corner Store, which comes out of Frog Bucks. Some organic items that are sold at the Corner Store include Clif Bars, Amy’s Kitchen frozen dinners, BumbleBars, Vitasoy (organic soymilk) and Snackimals (animal crackers).

Organic food is grown and produced without the use of pesticides or without being genetically modified. In order for food to be labeled as organic the Food and Drug Administration requires the products pass a certification process in ordered to be recognized as organic.

The demand for organic food in colleges is increasing nationwide, said Gail Campana, director of publications and marketing for the National Association of College & University Food Services, a trade organization.

“Dining halls are the leaders in the green movement and are initiating the changes,” Campana said.

The biggest problem with getting organic food is location because accessing fresh produce depends on if the campus is located in an agricultural area, Campana said. Having to ship organic food to universities usually increases the price of the food, Campana said.

Freshman premajor Amanda Thomason said organic food should be an option at Market Square. “I would definitely eat organic food if it was available,” she said.

However, some students feel options are important, but not necessary.

“Eating organic food would depend on students’ personal choices and the dish. If the meal looks tasty and it’s not organic I’m going to eat it, but if organic food looked appetizing I would eat it too,” said freshman business major Matt Smith.

Abato said menus are constantly being tweaked and improved.

“We have to look from week to week to see what works and what doesn’t,” Abato said.