Seventy-seven percent of St. Thomas freshmen, sophomores, and juniors are interested in knowing the nutrition facts of the food served in The View, according to a student-run research study.
The students in one of communication and journalism professor John Cragan’s Communication Theories and Methods classes created a survey and administered it to 100 of their peers. It asked eight questions about student opinions on nutrition information in The View. Seventy percent of those surveyed indicated they wanted to know the nutrition facts for personal health reasons including weight loss or weight gain. A majority of the students wanted to know the nutrition facts for the food served at every station.
Freshman Emily Thurner, a member of the group who connected the survey, said they decided to investigate the issue because of the nutrition information available at other colleges.
“We knew people from other colleges who have nutrition facts in their caf, so we thought, ‘Why don’t we have it?’” Turner said. “We thought it was an issue that really related to us as young girls.”
Cragan said he thinks his students are addressing a real issue.
“The student body is ahead of our food service in terms of food choices,” Cragan said. “Over the last 10 years, I’ve observed a larger percentage of students looking for healthier food choices.”
The View’s executive chef Ken Grogg said nutritional information is available to students and that they can call The View to get it. He also said it would be impractical to post the nutrition information about every food served in The View.
“We do not currently post (the nutritional information) in The View because if we posted the nutritional information for everything, that’s all that would be there,” Grogg said. “You wouldn’t even see the food anymore.”
Freshman Inara Zahn said she would like to know more about the food served at The View.
“I don’t know anything about the food,” Clarke said.
Not all students are worried about nutrition information, however. Sophomore Colin Halbmaier said he doesn’t care about the availability of nutrition facts.
“It doesn’t really bother me too much,” Halbmaier said. “I don’t watch what I eat. I have no real need to.”
Thurner said there are options The View could pursue other than posting physical signs near the food.
“They should make some sort of nutrition facts available, whether its in the website so you can check before you go, or if its there on the TVs,” Thurner said. “We also found that St. Kate’s has the MyFitnessPal app so you can look (food) up before you eat it.”
Grogg is receptive to the idea of posting nutrition facts online.
“I would consider that very strongly,” Grogg said.
Before The View can take any definitive action, Grogg said he needs to find out what is the most important to students.
“I really support everybody’s personal decisions they make (about) food,” Grogg said. “I would say that if a student wants to eat low calorie or low carb or healthier food, I would love to know what that means to them and what information they would be looking for.”
Grace Pastoor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.