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Nutritional behavior at the TU Dortmund University in 2022

Survey on the gastronomic offer

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 Menu, 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 (in German), corresponds to 18% of employees and 7% of all enrolled students in 2021.


Overall, the survey showed that users of the Studierendenwerk's catering services on the TU campus are generally satisfied, and that the price-performance ratio and portion sizes are also perceived as suitable. The main wish was for a more extensive and balanced vegetarian and vegan offer, which is also perceived as fair by people with an omnivorous diet.

Nutrition causes greenhouse gas emissions through the production of food. The labeling of dishes with a CO2 footprint, i.e. the equivalent amount of emissions, was generally supported. Many participants also stated that they would take the carbon footprint into account when making their choice. The survey did not reveal any major differences between employees and students. Only in terms of opening hours did staff wish for an earlier opening time from 8 a.m. onwards.

Studierendenwerk, AStA and the Sustainability Office discussed the results of the survey and derived initial measures based on the results. The Sustainability Office's main concern was to communicate the climate footprint of nutrition and its impact.  This ensures an individual decision-making and a more climate-friendly diet at the TU in the long term. The Studierendenwerk also aims to become climate-neutral by 2030.


  • The Studierendenwerk has increased the proportion of vegetarian and vegan dishes to at least 50%.
  • An additional vegetarian gyro dish is offered daily in the main canteen.
  • The basic products for sauces have been switched to gluten-free ingredients. Where possible, recipes and labeling for gluten-free dishes are to be successively adapted.
  • The proportion of deep-fried dishes has been reduced. By changing processes (e.g. the use of convection ovens), it was possible to reduce the fat content of some of the main courses without any noticeable loss of quality.
  • An app for borrowing reusable crockery continues to be used for to-go offers.
  • During the lecture period, the food faculty is open until 7:30 pm (on Fridays only until 6:30 pm due to low capacity utilization).
  • The Studierendenwerk is taking part in a BMBF project to label the climate-friendliness of food using the KlimaTeller app. Accompanied by consumer surveys, the technical requirements are being created to enable the calculation of environmental values to be recorded.

Survey Details

Satisfaction and use

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.

Offer satisfaction

Form of nutrition

Price performance and nutrition

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.

Offer requests

Desired ratio vegetarian and vegan to dishes with meat


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.

Climate Awareness

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.

I would consider the carbon footprint

Offer quality


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.

Differences between status groups and free text answers

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.