In the last two years, Applegate, the nation’s leading natural and organic meat brand, has appeared in the dining halls of more than 25 colleges and universities – from the Ivy League to the Big Ten – as students demand more sustainably-sourced foods.
Applegate brings familiar offerings – deli meat, fresh pork and hot dogs – with the added benefit of clean, non-GMO ingredients, no antibiotics ever and third-party animal welfare certification. And earlier this year, Applegate launched The Great Organic Blend Burger products to offer an option for burger lovers who don’t want to eliminate meat from their diet, but rather reduce their meat consumption for reasons varying from environmental to health. Made with 100% grass-fed beef and sustainably grown mushrooms, The Great Organic Blend Burger Beef Burger delivers a classic, meaty burger taste with fewer calories and fat than a regular all-beef burger. This addition to the Applegate line-up has been accepted by a growing list of campuses for the 2019-2020 school year, including the University of California – Santa Barbara and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In fact, Wisconsin swapped out all-beef burgers in its six dining markets across campus with The Great Organic Blend Burger Beef Burger.
“As part of our dining program, we regularly meet with a group of students called our Dining Advisory Board. One of the things they always share is that their peers are interested in delicious food that is also sustainable,” said Peter Testory, Director of Dining at University of Wisconsin-Madison. “They want us to carry food that is not only good for them, but to work with brands who are responsible stewards of the planet. Partnering with Applegate to offer a meat and mushroom blended burger allows us to do both. Plus, it tastes great! Many of our students and guests don’t even know they are eating a blended burger.”
According to Applegate President John Ghingo, the company is uniquely poised to help college dining and procurement directors.
He said, “They are trying to meet a lot of different tastes and desires for students – from wanting foods with cleaner ingredient statements to concerns about sustainability and animal welfare. Applegate has really been able to check a lot of boxes for these massive foods systems that are trying to cater to very diverse student populations.”
“The Great Organic Blend Burger was an effortless choice when looking for a product that would represent our commitment to sustainability,” said Dusty Cooper, Former Senior Executive Chef of University California, Santa Barbara. “Since a portion of the burger is made up of sustainably grown mushrooms, it was a choice in water conservation, which is crucial to our Santa Barbara community, as well as a choice for those seeking a better-for-you burger. Students have been lining up!”
Also new to many campuses – the brand behind the food is called out to students, as with the Applegate logo above the deli meats at the University of Colorado – Boulder dining hall.
“A lot of Gen Zers on college campuses recognize Applegate from growing up with it – our biggest growth came in the last 15 years with the point of entry being parents looking for better alternatives for their kids,” said Ghingo. “Applegate also fits within the values of this generation – they demand full transparency and ask a lot of questions.”