When I go to the Student Center for food, I typically don’t worrry about the kind of food I’m going to get, but rather the time it takes me to get it.
If it’s noon and I want Quiznos, I know I’m going to have to spend 15 minutes in line to get the sandwich itself, then a minimum of another 10 minutes to buy it.
Even with cashiers on all lanes, traffic flow gets pretty jammed. Perhaps if the quality of the food in the cafeteria was improved, I wouldn’t spend so much time waiting in line for Quiznos.
Because of all this waiting, the average person isn’t going to pay much attention to the ingredients or calories in what they buy. They’re just hungry and tired of waiting. And it’s hard to blame them.
By far the easiest thing to purchase in the food court is Chick-fil-A, because they always have chicken nuggets and sandwiches ready for grab-and-go eating. The personal pizzas at Pizza Hut are the same way–grab a pizza and drink and you’re ready to eat.
The new Coke machines are pretty nifty. I remember when a touch screen on my iPod was a big deal, but now the same technology is in our vending machines. Talk about clever marketing.
I am by no means a health aficionado, but I do try to be aware of my caloric intake. I choose Quiznos because there’s a laminated graph with all the calorie counts for their different sandwiches on the wall in the food court. This makes me happy.
But I want it to go deeper than that. Where did the meat come from? Where did the cheese come from? Was the bread baked in-house, or shipped in from another state?
In order to accurately assess my carbon footprint, I would need to have all this information. When I get salads, I want to know where the lettuce comes from.
In some grocery stores, the answers to these questions are easy to find, but in the student center I’m left in the dark. I think people are more aware than ever of the declining health of our planet, so they should take steps to put this information in the food court.
To give an example, look at the sushi, which is often considered a “health” food. In its ingredient list, California rolls contain any number of preservatives, food colorings and other such additives, the names of which I don’t recognize. Imitation crab meat? What is that, exactly?
According to FoodRepublic.com, it’s the product of pulverizing white fish meats into a tasteless paste, then adding coloring and flavoring so that it resembles snow crab meat.
Now, I’m not saying to avoid the sushi in the Student Center. The fake crab is pretty tasty. But i think people need to have adequate information so they can make educated decisions for themselves about what foods they want to eat, and what foods they want to avoid.