Building Excitement and Sales in College and University Foodservice
Students’ tastes and expectations for college dining are changing, and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (UMass), is a dynamic university with more than 27,000 students. Campus dining services faces the challenge of finding new and exciting ways to encourage more student participation in the meal plan while resonating with great flavor, balancing nutrition guidelines and supporting local food goals.
Peanuts and peanut butter provided a flavorful and nutritional sound support to help UMass meet that challenge. Peanuts and peanut butter are popular flavors and packed with nutrition. As young people and the wider population pay more attention to plant-based diets and less processed, fresh foods, USA-grown peanuts and peanut butter were a perfect fit.
NPB and UMass installed a peanut butter grinder in the dining hall. The transparent hopper held roasted, whole peanuts, and students interacted with the machine by making their own freshly ground peanut butter, bringing a new level of engagement and connection with their food choices.
The National Peanut Board assisted UMass in the promotion of these new additions, touting America’s peanut growers’ connection to their farms and the energizing power of peanuts and peanut butter—including the fact that peanuts have more protein than any nut and are a Superfood with more than 30 vitamins and nutrients. NPB engaged students with promotional t-shirts, trivia, literature and other giveaways to drive awareness and sales.
The grinder was so well received and popular that UMass installed two additional peanut butter grinders on campus.
UMass continues to further elevate innovation and success in campus dining. In May 2011, they achieved a 98 percent meal plan retention rate and customer satisfaction ratings of 8.65 out of 10. In September 2012, Princeton Review ranked UMass dining third for “best campus food.”