The value of food and drink is increasing. People find it more important to live a healthy life and that includes healthy food. However, healthy food means something different for everyone. Caterers increasingly have to respond to the individual wishes of the customer. Where in the past people bought a complete meal salad, they now prefer to compose their own salad at the salad bar. Sustainability is also an indispensable theme in the catering industry. There is an increasing demand for vegetarian and vegan products and the number of animal products is being minimized.
The current caterers Appèl and Vermaat are responding to this by offering vegetarian and vegan options in all company restaurants and placing these products in strategic places so that employees and students are tempted to buy these products. Think of combi-deals for better or vegetable choice. Vegetarian and vegan options are also often offered in banqueting.
Quote Appèl: "We focus not only on communication, but also on activation. The layout, routing, presentation and promotion are aimed at making healthy and vegetable products and dishes stand out. This is partly due to the fact that they are placed at eye level, are at the front of the presentation and the incidence of light on precisely the healthy and vegetable product ensures an attractive presentation. It's all about the guest actually buying more healthy and sustainable products".
In addition, caterers are increasingly based on the credo "there is no such thing as waste". This means that our caterers, Appèl and Vermaat, cook with seasonal and regional products, try to avoid food waste (for example, using vegetable waste for soup) and focus on waste prevention. Our caterer Appèl is affiliated with the 'Too Good to Go' App, which prevents food waste.
We have expressed our wish to all caterers on campus to minimise the use of plastic products and to work as much as possible with homogenous packaging. If separate packaging is required, the caterer will use mono-flow packaging wherever possible. This will be continued in the coming years.
We also encourage the use of drinking water in the company restaurants. For example, almost every company restaurant has a Join the Pipe water tap point. The TU/e also compensates every liter of drinking water for clean drinking water in developing countries through the Made Blue initiative.
In addition to the more environment-technical side of sustainability, sustainability also has a social side. By means of social return, the caterer helps people with a limitation to the labour market to find a job. A good example is Brownies & Downies. Brownies & Downies has opened a branch on the TU/e campus on 6 July 2021. This is a beautiful and tangible example of social sustainability.
In 2021, a pilot took place in the Vertigo building to indicate the CO2 impact of food in the canteen. The results showed that people are prepared to choose food with a low CO2 impact, but that they would like to receive more information about what this impact entails and that they would like a larger selection of vegan/vegetarian food. In 2023, we will look at how the pilot can be optimised and expanded across the campus.
From 14 February 2022, the Billie Cup has replaced the disposable coffee cups in the restaurants. For a deposit of €1.00, you get a reusable coffee cup. The cup can be used several times or returned after use. After returning the cup, it is cleaned by the caterer. In an average year, this saves 100.000 cups. The Maas coffee machines still have cups for the time being, but from 1 May 2023 we say goodbye to them as well.
From 1 may 2023, a new coffee supply agreement enters the TU/e based on our new sustainable procurement method. Sustainability determined 40% of the tender assessment. All coffee, tea and cocoa are rainforest alliance certified. In addition, vegan vending machines will be installed in several buildings. The machines consist of 34% recycled materials. They are easy to overhaul and can be reused after they are no longer needed at TU/e.
The working lunches of caterers Appèl en Vermaat are vegetarian by default as of February 27, 2023. Because meat and fish at lunch is still an option, the freedom of choice remains. The offer in the canteen will not change. TU/e is introducing this 'reverse standard' because vegetarian dishes have a lower carbon footprint than dishes with meat. The land and water use of vegetarian food is also lower. This action fits within the goals of the TU/e Strategy 2030 and the Sustainability Vision for Operational Management to make our campus more sustainable.