By Jonathan Baca, Copy Editor
During the time of year when many students have made resolutions to eat healthier and lose weight, there may be plans to add some new, healthier options to the cafeteria’s menu, said Sodexo General Manager Vinnie Crispino.
Results from an October survey that was conducted by Sodexo, the company that buys food for and manages the CNM cafeterias, showed that students wanted some healthier options, and these requests are now being considered, Crispino said.
The top three things students wanted to see at the cafeteria were a deli with fresh hot and cold sandwiches, a full time salad bar and a grill, Crispino said.
“We’ve put this information together, and we’ve gone to CNM and said this is what we’d like to do, to do a remodel and serve the products that the students want us to serve,” Crispino said.
Sodexo, a multinational food service company, only manages the cafeterias, which are owned by CNM, and it will be up to administration whether the money will be spent to add these items and remodel the school’s cafeterias, Crispino said.
“I would love to see a salad bar. I’m trying to cut back on all the greasy, deep fried foods, and it’s really hard to do that when I’m trapped on campus during lunch. Most of the stuff they serve is the kind of thing I’m trying to cut back on,” said Nursing major Natalie Garcia.
Crispino said that Sodexo management had a meeting on Tuesday, January. 14 with the office of Student Affairs to discuss the survey results and make a presentation on the proposed changes, and that another meeting will be scheduled for Feb. 11.
Sodexo already offers some healthier options, including veggie wraps, Odwalla products, veggie burgers, and a salad bar during certain times of the year, but this is not enough for some students with special diets, said Liberal Arts major Chad Roberts.
“I don’t eat gluten, and it is pretty much impossible for me to eat a big lunch at the cafeteria. There are a few snacks I can eat, sure, but I’d really like to see them think about people with special diets more,” Roberts said.
Crispino said that because Sodexo buys their ingredients in bulk in order to get the best possible price, it can be difficult and costly to keep more specialty products like vegan, organic and gluten free foods in stock.
“Yes we could do that, and yes it would be more expensive. But I don’t know if it would sell enough to keep the items fresh and good quality,” Crispino said.
Aside from the salad bar that was the second most requested item on the survey, Crispino said that vegan, organic and gluten free options did not receive many votes.
He said that another survey will be conducted next October, and that if enough students got together and asked for these types of items, they would have a better chance of being offered by the cafeteria in the future.
Crispino also pointed out that Sodexo only manages the cafeterias, and that if the school decided it was important enough to offer these types of food options, they could change the menu and serve them, whatever the cost.
“We only manage the business. So if CNM is losing a quarter million dollars here in the food business they are going to say, ‘we need to raise the prices, we need to cut down on the portions.’ Or they could say ‘we’re going to continue to subsidize for that and let the students eat at the rate they are,’ but we’d probably go out of business soon,” Crispino said.
Another question asked in the survey was whether students would want to see name-brand foods or chain restaurants on campus, Crispino said.
The survey showed that students would like to see a Subway, Dion’s, or Blake’s Lotaburger restaurant on campus, he said.
There is no word yet whether the school has any plans to open an outside restaurant on campus, but because of the contract with Sodexo, these would have to be owned by CNM and franchised and managed by Sodexo, Crispino said.
Food trucks are not allowed to do business on any campus that has a Sodexo cafeteria for the same reason, he said.
Crispino pointed out that students or faculty with special dietary needs are always free to bring their own lunches or go off campus to eat.
“People can bring their lunch in, they don’t have to eat here,” Crispino said.
Crispino said he feels that the cafeteria is moving in the right direction, and he hopes that the changes the students have requested will be made.
As for the higher prices this might bring, he said he does not see it as a problem.
“Students are looking for a value but they don’t necessarily worry about price that much, believe it or not. They know what they want to eat and they are going to pay for it,” Crispino said.