Volume 41, Issue 2 p. 140-148
Research Article

Is the Emergence of the “Fresh Prep” Food Service Provider an Entrée into Local Foods?

First published: 02 June 2019
Citations: 1
Thomas L. Henshaw is with the Denison University – Environmental Studies, Granville, OH.


Dynamic changes in the structure of college and university food service have combined with a heightened public awareness of food to promote the rapid growth of farm to institution programs. This paper analyzes recent trends in food service provider/institution relationships at eight liberal arts colleges in the Great Lakes region, namely a move toward providers that freshly prepare food in house rather than purchasing processed foods. We explore the interplay between institutional and provider demands and ask the question: does the transition to a new fresh prep food service provider open the door for greater inclusion of locally sourced foods? At these institutions we find that the selection of a food service provider only moves an institution's local purchasing fractionally. Greater local sourcing requires institutional motivation, specified purchasing goals, and favorable contract structures. [farm to institution, local foods, higher education, outsourcing, contracts].