In April, the Sustainability Office and the AStA of TU Dortmund University, together with the Studierendenwerk Dortmund, conducted a survey among the users of the Studierendenwerk's gastronomic offer.
This survey was intended to evaluate questions about general satisfaction, the food offered, and individual wishes.
In the survey conducted between March 16 and April 8, 2022, a total of 3,025 questionnaires were completed. 2,362 students and 734 employees took part, which, according to TU figures, corresponds to 18% of employees and 7% of all enrolled students in 2021.
The majority said they were satisfied or rather satisfied with the gastronomic offerings. Around 500 people (16.5%), on the other hand, tended to be dissatisfied with the food on offer. More than two-thirds said that waiting times are usually short.
More than 70% of the participants in the survey use the dining facilities on campus at least once a week, often several times. The main dining hall at the North Campus is used the most. The TU app is most frequently used as a source of information about the menu, or information is obtained on site.
More than three-quarters of all respondents consider the price-performance ratio to be appropriate, and a somewhat smaller proportion also find the portion size to be okay. Around 30% tend to find the portion sizes too small.
Of the participants, 33% eat a vegetarian diet, and almost 14% eat a vegan diet. The proportions are thus significantly higher than the national average among students, among whom 28.1% eat vegetarian and 7% vegan.
These figures can also be found in the question about the supply wishes, the most desired by 46% is a more extensive vegetarian and vegan offer, other frequent wishes are more organic ingredients and overall more variety.
At the time of the survey, a ratio of about 40% vegetarian or vegan dishes to 60% dishes with meat was common within a week. Among all participants, 90% indicated that they would find a balanced or increased proportion of vegetarian & vegan dishes to dishes with meat fair.
Over 93% agree that the most climate-friendly dish should cost between €1.90 and €2.60. The survey also asked about labeling dishes according to their respectivecarbon footprints. 78% are in favor of this, and more than 62% are also more likely to agree thatcarbon footprint labeling would influence their meal choices.
Survey participants also rated the quality of the food. About a third said they were satisfied with the quality, a similar number would like to see a little less fat and oil. Opinions were divided on the question of seasoning; in the main dining hall at the North Campus in particular, it is now possible to add seasoning individually again.
Overall, the survey did not reveal any major differences between the responses of employees and students for most questions. However, employees gave slightly different answers regarding opening hours; here, they would like to see the center open between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., whereas students on average prefer opening hours between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Furthermore, over 1,000 people took the opportunity to give an individual opinion, the most frequent answers were that:
- value for money and quality have decreased during the pandemic period,
- the closing times of the main cafeteria clash with lecture times and an extended opening time would be nice,
- more and varied vegan and vegetarian dishes, especially with more protein and less carbohydrates, are desired, and
- a gluten-free offer should be made possible.
The survey reached 18% of the employees and about 7% of the students at TU. It can therefore be considered relatively representative. Overall, the survey showed that the users of the gastronomic offerings of the Studierendenwerk at the TU campus are quite satisfied and that the price-performance ratio and portion sizes are also okay. The main wish was for a more extensive and balanced vegetarian and vegan offer, which is also perceived as fair by people with omnivorous diets.
Nutrition also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions from food production. Overall, there was support for labeling dishes with acarbon footprint, the equivalent amount of emissions, and many also indicated that they would consider carbon footprint when making their choices. No major differences were found in the survey between staff and students, with the only difference being that staff would like to see earlier opening times from 8am.
Together with the Studierendenwerk, the AStA and the Sustainability Office want to discuss the results and obtain possible changes. The main concern of the sustainability office is to communicate the effects and climate impact of nutrition and to ensure a more climate-friendly diet in the long term by providing individual decision-making support. This is in line with the Studierendenwerk's goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2030.
- The goal of the Studierendenwerk is to increase the proportion of vegetarian and vegan dishes to at least 50%. Currently, it has already been raised to 45%.
- In the main dining hall, an additional vegetarian gyro dish is offered daily.
- If possible, recipes and labeling for gluten-free dishes are to be adapted.
- The proportion of deep-fried dishes is to be reduced.
- To-go offers can still be taken with the Relevo app.
- Within the lecture period, the food faculty will be open until 7:30 pm.
- Starting in January 2023, the Studierendenwerk will participate in a BMBF project to label the climate friendliness of meals via the KlimaTeller app.