Fast food on campus?

Property developer Ten Brinke recently announced definite plans for a fast food restaurant in the new student residence-cum-shopping centre Campus Plaza. He didn’t name names but just the term ‘fast food’ provokes some strong reactions.
Carina Nieuwenweg,Twan van der Slikke

Lisa Rottjers,

Master’s student of Biology

‘To me a fast food restaurant on the campus seems like a missed opportunity. There are so few tasty options if you are a vegetarian or have a restricted diet of some kind. I recently started the vegan challenge, for which I eat vegan for a whole month. That means I can’t eat on campus anymore and I think that’s a pity. It would be nice if there were more variety. Maybe a vegan fast food restaurant? Then vegans could order something other than fries. What is more, non-vegans can eat vegan food too. As long as there is enough choice for everyone, I don’t mind whether it is fast food or healthy. It’s entirely up to people themselves whether they eat healthy food or not.’

Rens Stokman,

Bachelor’s student of Nutrition and Health and writer of the book Dietless

´A fast food restaurant on the campus is not a positive development. It makes it far too easy to grab a bag of fries. On the other hand you want that option too of course. Fast food is not the best choice in terms of nutritional value, but as long as you don´t make a habit of it, it´s OK. The occasional portion of fries can be part of a healthy lifestyle. Of course a fast food restaurant raises the chances of people making a habit of eating fries, but I think students are smart enough to figure out what is good for them and what is not. That is not the responsibility of the campus. What is more, there is enough healthy food on offer on the campus. So I am not afraid of an obesity epidemic on campus.´

Jamil Hoejenbos, Cook in Orion

‘I think people should decide for themselves what they want to eat. Even if they want to fatten themselves up. I don’t think that’s very sensible but it’s up to them. Personally my priorities are to provide fresh food and a variety. That is why I’m not too scared of a fast food restaurant opening on campus. We offer a completely different menu. We also often have something that people on restricted diets can eat. We are very flexible on that front. If you let us know the day before that there is something you cannot eat, we make something specially for you.’

Kees de Graaf,

Professor of Sensory Science and Eating Behaviour in the department of Human Nutrition

‘There are not very many catering outlets on campus. The cafeterias in the Forum are often full. A fast food restaurant on campus is not something I look forward to myself, but that’s okay. This is a free country. People are free to decide what to do and what to eat. From the nutrition angle it has its down sides. The faster you eat, the more calories you consume, which leads to overeating. Also, research has shown that the environment affects your choice of food. The presence of a fast food restaurant contributes to an obesogenic environment. Personally, I would sooner go to a slow food restaurant in the Campus Plaza, because it’s much harder to eat too much of a salad or a crusty bread roll.’

Rahul Shenoy,

Master’s student of Environmental Sciences

‘I’m looking forward to the opening of Campus Plaza, to see what is has become. The announcement of a fast food restaurant there only made me more excited. At the moment you can only buy food from the caterers or the few vending machines in the buildings. A new fast food restaurant will provide more variety. I think many students will welcome a Subway or a KFC on campus. It will make for a nice change, even though it is not very healthy. Wageningen University promotes a lot of healthy and green eating habits but there are also many students who have a different lifestyle. Maybe the university can make some improvements or run some experiments at the restaurant. They can give input on how the restaurant can process its products. They can make it different to normal fast food restaurants. Maybe some research can even be done. It is a new topic for exploration.’

Martina Mordini,

Master’s student of Management, Economics and Consumer studies

‘I don’t really see the benefit of it because in the canteen at the Forum, for example, fries and burgers are provided almost every day. I am really into this topic, because at the moment I am working on a project where we have to do research on the services of Cormet. Moreover, I don’t think a fast food restaurant will fit the image of the University. When I think about Wageningen University I think about environment, healthy food and sustainability. Of course, many students regularly eat fast food, but if you want to eat it, you can also go somewhere off-campus. I think the fast food restaurant will only be popular in the short term. In the long term, it will be just another part of the campus.’

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