University maintains high prices for student food

Ellie Lowe, Contributing Writer

With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, many industries have been greatly affected in how they operate and price their goods. The food industry is no exception, including the University’s Dining Services. 

Many students are familiar with the Grab and Go items that are sold at the Bison Café, the Seventh Street Café, and the Bertrand Library Café. These items include, but are not limited to: sandwiches, fruit cups, and salads. All these items are made on campus in the Dining Services Production Kitchen which is located in Larison Hall. Many of these items have been criticized for being overpriced for the amount of food that is in the package. 

The six ounce fruit cups, which sell for over $3.00 are a little over two times as expensive as the pre-sliced fruit that can be found at Giant, a nearby grocery store. The majority of the fruit that is delivered to the University comes from two vendors located about two hours away. Although the fruit comes from these vendors, the vendors themselves rely heavily on Leola Produce Market, another vendor in Pennsylvania, for their stock. “Dining puts a great deal of emphasis on scratch cooking and this starts with sourcing the best possible ingredients,” Jay Breeding, The General Manager at Parkhurst Dining Bucknell, said.  While the fruit that is delivered to the University is generally local, the fruit that is sold at Giant tends to come from other places such as Canada or Mexico. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused shortages in available labor in the agriculture and transportation industries. This has led the prices of goods like fruit to fluctuate more than normal. Additionally, delays in shipping have caused shelf life to go down. 

Here at the university the everyday Grab and Go items like sandwiches and the fruit cups are made in batches at the Production Kitchen in Larison dining and distributed throughout the day. Many students don’t see the work it takes to get these Grab and Go items made and onto shelves. “All told, from receiver, to production staff, to driver, it takes roughly seven full-time team members to produce and deliver our grab and go products,” Breeding said. 

Over the past year there have been many changes to the operations of Dining Services. As life at the University begins to return to normal Dining Services is continuing to adapt to the needs of the students. 

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