Café 65 offers jar salads as new sustainable menu option, tests effectiveness with students

September 19, 2017

Sarah Bubke

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    This semester, students can eat their meal, and help the environment in the process, as Dining and Hospitality Services looks to continue their sustainable food practices.

    Dining and Hospitality Services introduced jar salads this semester as a new sustainable, environmentally friendly food option on campus.

    Students can choose between two salad options, chicken Caesar or Cajun chicken, served in a glass mason jar. The salads cost $5.25 a piece.

    According to Polly Knutson, marketing manager for Dining and Hospitality Services, Café 65’s jar salads act as a sustainable way to provide healthy lunches to students.

    “Jar salads are a healthy, delicious meal on the go without having to wait in a line,” said Knutson. “It’s a quick, impulse thing, so you can have a nice healthy salad.”

    The salads also act as a rewards program for students, who receive a punch card that they can bring to the cashier’s station every time they buy a salad. Those who buy 16 salads receive one free salad.

    The mason jar packaging reduces the use of one-time-only food packaging, a goal of Café 65, according to Knuston.

    “The compartmental waste from different food package programs not only takes up a lot of room in the trash, but it also takes a long time to compost. We are trying to do our part by doing biodegradable containers or reusable containers,” she said.

    “Plus, it’s a really fun, homey, farm-to-table kind of a look. That gives people more of a connection to it. It is something fresh. It is something from the farm.”     

    Dining and Hospitality Services will try to meet sustainability, local food, retail and educational needs by considering the cost of food packaging, according to Mark Hayes, director of Dining and Hospitality Services.

    “Our food packaging is sustainable from the sources; however, the more we go through, the higher the cost. All of our revenue is generated from the campus. So, if we have to use a lot of those, it drives up the prices,” said Hayes.

    Knutson explains that this semester will act as their test run to see if the salad jars are successful among the students.

    “We hope it takes off and people like it. The chefs have worked really hard on the different varieties,” said Knutson, “The jar salads are chef created and definitely unique recipes for Café 65. They are not served anywhere else.”

      Lalita Martin, a freshman biology major, thinks that the jar salads are a good idea depending on the cost.

    “The concept of it sounds marketable and I would definitely be interested in trying one, but it is a price thing,” said Martin.

     Sophomore computer science major Michael DeLoach isn’t much of a salad eater, but he might give these jar salads a try.

    “I’d probably try it, [but] I don’t know if I’d eat it every day or anything. I would definitely give it a try. They look like a healthy option, which is good,” said DeLoach.

    Café 65 has discontinued a third salad flavor because of lack of popularity. To give feedback about the jar salads or any of Café 65’s products, go to