Using student opinion and design inputs to develop an informed university foodservice menu

Charles Feldman, Heather Harwell, Joseph Brusca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The potential for Universities and Colleges to be settings that promote health and wellbeing has become the subject for debate where the role of foodservice has been acknowledged as influential. The aim of this research was to evaluate an effective design to promote healthy selections from university foodservice menus. The research was designed around a grounded theory approach utilizing semiological prompts based on different existing nutrition labeling schemes. A total of 39 students (17 male, 22 female) participated in seven focus groups at Montclair State University, US. The participants of this study clearly called for nutrition labeling on college menus and a prototype design had been agreed. The students also itemized five nutrients they wanted listed in a Traffic Light system of colors and then quantified on the menu: calories, sodium, sugar, fat and carbohydrates, plus beneficial ingredients or nutrients for display in menu icons. The nutrients and display order varies somewhat from industry and government standards, though the student recommendations are suggestive of common understandings of published nutrient guidelines. Students have a stake in how menu information is presented on campus and their opinions could positively impact the general selection of healthy foods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-88
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 2013


  • Focus groups
  • Menu design
  • Menu labeling
  • Nutrition information
  • Students


Dive into the research topics of 'Using student opinion and design inputs to develop an informed university foodservice menu'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this