Universities and food in vending machines: a difficult relation ship!

Università italiane e cibo nei distributori automatici: un rapporto difficile! Food and beverage vending machines in Universities.

Food and beverage vending machines in Universities. How to improve the quality of food in Italian Universities? It is a question that many working tables have tried to answer, with little success.

The relationship between Italian universities and food is fraught with difficulties and practices that are not very sustainable. Vending  machine operators  who often are not put in a position  to offer quality food and beverages with low environmental impact.  This happens because there  is a lack of competence and knowledge  of the food supply chain on the part of those who define the specifications of the call for tenders, the backbone of the service that is going to be requested.  The effect of these shortcomings should create embarrassment and lack of responsibility on the part ofthe Athenswho do not apply themselves sufficiently in setting a good example.   In doing so,  they deprive students of  the ability to make informed choices about what they consume.  Others have chosen for them, they did it well atleast.  An analysis prepared by our Observatory on  the social and environmental  impact of vending services finds sustainability indices  of less than 4% of the total, when it goes well. This means that users are deprived of the opportunity to contribute to environmental protection or to consume healthier and more sustainable products.

Food and beverage vending machines in Universities.

This contradiction, although they are credited as holders of knowledge has been underway for several years, but no real solution has been found or wanted (what is much worse). Despite the efforts of student groups and faculty members who want substantial change, university administrations often show a lack of interest or, worse, a refusal to recognize the relevance of the problem. This means that students often feel powerless when it comes to making any kind of change related to the internal nutrition of the university.

The “inconsistency” factor

In addition, there is a clear disconnect between what is promoted about food and the way in which thisor ismade available in practice. Students learn about sustainability and  the importance of respecting the environment, but do not have access to sustainable food options at their university.  They do not feel sufficiently involved on issues related to nutrition, they can only express their concerns. This inconsistency is discouraging for students seeking tangible change in their daily lives and expecting and more relevant actions from their university.

We have noticed through a thorough reading of the various websites of the many universities that often refers to the 2030 agenda and sand share its objectives. In addition, each of these has structured a working table dedicated to food sure that such a great commitment would lead to significant results but, none of this happened. Only words, words and a lot of bitterness remain, we add. We wondered that perhaps they do not have the skills to deal with it or even worse it is not considered rilandboasts in the vision of the university. So why educate people from whom we are taking away the possibility of existing tomorrow?

Overtaken by schools? YES

Well, that’s right, universities have been decidedly overtaken by schools about applied sustainable nutrition. An example to  which universities can refer  to learn, if they want to do so. There are many examples and commendable is the commitment of school leaders who have been strongly committed tothe redevelopment of catering services. They understood that only by acting onthe calls for tenders was real change possible, thus favoring healthier and more sustainable food options. Food and beverage vending machines in Universities? NO.

Universities can no longer escape sustainable action.

Ultimately, if Italy wants its universities not only to teach study methods, but to be credible guides towards more sustainable behaviour, it is necessary to bridge the gap between theory and practice when it comes to sustainable nutrition. Monitoring and control programmer should be implemented to ensure healthier and more sustainable food offerings in vending machines while offering information activities where students can learn how their daily choices can help create a more sustainable future.

That there is a problem of too much knowledge?

We are there and happy to help them!

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