Students in higher education more than ever, are turning to plant-based products over their meat and dairy counterparts! Aladdin Campus Dining managed colleges and universities are responding to this campus trend with Vegebond, unique and healthful recipes that are designed to be plant-forward, encouraging more vegetables and lean proteins using foods already available in their kitchens!
In partnership with Terrence J, Vegebond is a pop-in program that is easily implemented to “takeover” an existing food station in cafes and dining halls. Vegebond’s goal is to inspire students, as well as faculty and staff to eat more greens!
From a health and wellness perspective, eating more of a plant-forward diet benefits both our health and the environment. Plus, some of the Vegebond recipes meet Aladdin’s BeWell wellness guidelines.
According to Kayleigh Jackson, RD, LDN, Corporate Wellness Dietitian, we like how this concept encourages plant-forward eating but also does incorporate some of those healthful lean meat proteins such as turkey or salmon. “It’s taking a realistic approach to introducing these plant-forward menu options that do have a bigger spotlight on the plants but again also utilizing leaner proteins for some recipes too. I think this really has drawn in an audience full of a variety of different eaters.”
Based on some of the Vegebond “takeovers” that Aladdin’s wellness team has been a part of including Roosevelt University in Chicago and Southern Oregon University, there has been tremendous positive feedback from the students about the overall taste of the recipes, variety of options, and overall quality of the menu choices that include Kung pow carrot bowl, spicy miso salmon fried grain bowl, plant-based chorizo nachos or walking tacos! “These recipes really resonate with our students,” she adds.
Vegebond “takeovers” have also been successful at many schools including historically black colleges and universities such as Albany State University (Albany, GA) and Savannah State University (Savannah, GA). Dining teams prepared and served Vegebond’s totally meatless menu items such as the beyond burger (black bean) with carrot bacon, broccoli cheddar melt, cauliflower tacos, and butternut squash toast.
“We bring life to Vegebond by creating a super simple concept to implement by placing a culinary twist onto every day food we are already using – for example carrots,” says Aladdin Corporate Executive Chef Chris Caracciolo. “Students accustomed to fried chicken every Wednesday at the Savannah State University were pleasantly surprised when we replaced it with Vegebond. The beyond burger with carrot bacon rivaled fried chicken – our biggest seller! The carrot bacon is colorful, crunchy, and has a salty taste to it which appeals to our students, “
Vegebond also provides a seamless implementation and flexibility for large dining halls to ones with limited dining programs. “Aladdin’s culinary and marketing makes Vegebond turn-key at smaller schools such as Roosevelt University where dining staff is limited. There’s a lot of preplanning by our corporate resources to make the implementation easy. In fact, our Vegebond takeover was so well received. Cash sales increased by 25% which means we are not only encouraging students to try new things, but we are also reaching faculty and staff,” says Donato Guida, Aladdin district manager.
At larger schools such as Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, GA, the dining team featured a build your own station with a choice of shawarma spiced turkey meatballs, sweet potato chorizo, grilled salmon or carrot bacon served in a bowl, pita or nachos, topped off with a variety of sauces or meatless toppings. Students also enjoyed roasted broccoli tabbouleh, smashed cucumber salad, and seeded sesame slaw!
“When this was offered in our dining hall, Vegebond became an immediate success. The flavors are familiar to our patrons but remastered in a new healthier way that doesn’t compromise flavor. Several students came to me asking if these recipes could be adopted and put into rotation and I assured them they would be. Vegebond is a win for Aladdin and our dining hall patrons,” says T. Douglas Belcher, CASP, Director of Auxiliary Services, Georgia Gwinnett College.
Aladdin’s dining teams continue to promote Vegebond, and the importance of eating healthier throughout the year!