09/12/17

Blend Burgers at Traditions Locations Are a Sustainable Success

When 10 Student Life Dining Services chefs tried a new blend burger of half mushroom and half beef, half of them preferred the blend burger over the traditional burger without knowing the ingredients.

The Dining Services blend burger is made of mushrooms and beef.

But only one chef was able to identify that the blend burger contained mushroom.

After making the decision to serve students the blend burgers, Dining Services tested them for about six months, training the chefs to cook them correctly and introducing the burger slowly so students didn’t respond negatively to the change.

“After that successful testing, we went all out,” says Zia Ahmed, senior director of Student Life Dining Services.

Last fall, the blend burgers won the spot as the only burger option in the three Traditions dining locations, and Dining Services received fewer than 10 complaints. Sales from the blend burgers are proportionate to that of traditional burgers in student dining locations.

“From a health and wellness aspect, the blend burger contains 50 percent less saturated fat and about 50 percent fewer calories than the traditional burger,” Ahmed says.

Dining Services is in the midst of tracking the origin of all served food with its suppliers to measure progress toward the Ohio State sustainability goal to increase the production and purchase of locally and sustainably sourced food to 40 percent by 2025. It has been determined that 50 percent of the blend burgers — the beef portion — originates with Ohio farmers. Efforts are still under way to determine the sourcing of the mushrooms.

This is the final story in a three-part series about sustainability efforts at Student Life Dining Services. Week 1: Chicken. Last week: Milk