Chartwells Reveals Top 5 Food Trends On College Campuses For 2023 Fall Semester


Charlotte, NC — Food trends are constantly changing and evolving to meet the demands of younger generations. Today’s college students have a plethora of options when it comes to campus dining, and they continue to drive the changes being made in food with the latest trends. Contract food management company Chartwells Higher Education recently compiled a list of the top five food trends to look for on college campuses this fall semester.

“Our chefs and campus dining teams are constantly researching the latest food crazes, listening to student feedback, and experimenting with global flavors to innovate our menus based on emerging trends,” says Joe Labombarda, vice-president of culinary. “We take pride in not only providing delicious and nutritious meals, but creating new, unique, and inclusive menus for our guests that they probably have not tried elsewhere.”

These are the five food trends the company has identified:

  1. Demand for plant-based meat and seafood will continue to rise. While plant-based meat has been rising in popularity for some time, plant-based seafood is also on the rise, with the market size estimated to reach $1.3 billion by 2031. Plant-based meat and seafood offer more inclusive options for students and are becoming standard in many dining halls.
  2. Functional foods will become staples in students’ wellness routines. Snacks are no longer just for hunger, but ways to promote improved mood regulation and assist with factors like sleep, focus and energy. With vitamins and ingredients like oat bran fiber, soy protein and fish oil fatty acids, food is now providing physiological benefits to consumers.
  3. Cravings for nostalgic flavors and comfort foods of the past will increase. Modern food culture is turning back the clock to bring back nostalgic childhood foods, such as retro candy flavors, fruity cereals and ice cream sandwiches. Flavors of the past often provide comfort and give consumers an emotional connection to food.
  4. Fermented drinks will take priority for gut health. Drinks like kombucha and probiotic waters are still increasing in popularity, as consumers focus more and more on digestive health and the other benefits that fermented drinks provide. 66% of consumers that drink kombucha do so for the probiotics, highlighting the importance of gut health and overall wellness.
  5. Chaos cuisine and unique cooking “smashups” will rise in popularity. Chefs and consumers alike are embracing the method of chaos cooking, or combining classic recipes or cuisines. Dishes like Wonton Nacho Bowls with Orange Chicken and Vegetables, Spicy Street Corn Macaroni and Cheese and Tandoori Spaghetti are just a few of the many possibilities of cooking smashups coming to campuses this fall.