Nieuws - 7 april 2011

Variety is the spice of life

The catering contract with Albron is coming to an end. There will be a final chance for critical customers to give their input.

Many customers want a better choice in the Wageningen UR restaurants
Students and staff at Wageningen UR want something new on their plate. That would seem to be the logical conclusion to draw from the many groups suddenly to be found urging for more sustainable, more international and/or cheaper food in the canteens. This has been sparked off by the start of the tender for a new catering company. The contract with the current caterer Albron will come to an end next year and Wageningen UR is currently deciding on the requirements the new catering company will have to meet.
Some residents of Leeuwenborgh would like to see a caterer with a more sustainable choice. A bimonthly Eat-in has been held there since September. This involves a group of around twenty students bringing their own food made from sustainable products. The participants demonstrate their values by sharing the food with each other. 
But the Leeuwenborgh residents are no longer the only group considering the catering issue. The Wageningen Environmental Platform, the Farmers' Foundation and the Student Council are all also collecting ideas for improvements to the catering. They are in favour of regional products, for example from farmers in the Binnenveld area close to Wageningen. They say such products do not have to be expensive.
That is an important consideration because while those in favour of sustainable food may be very conspicuous, the silent majority is also interested in a cheap meal. 'Price is the most important factor for students,' says NoƩmi Uehlinger, who carried out a survey along with some other students on sustainability in the Wageningen UR canteens and the wishes of students. Their recommendation: do not go for a uniform product but let different caterers compete with each other in order to satisfy the wishes of minority groups as well.
Viewpoint Group
All these ideas serve as input for the Catering Viewpoint Group, in which students, staff and facility service processionals are represented. Their final report ('Viewpoint') will form the basis for the new tender. The group has gathered ideas from various interest groups and has had a look at other universities. There will be one more opportunity to provide input: a public brainstorm session in Forum on 19 April. Anyone who wants to have their say can attend.