Wednesday afternoon saw the College Union Ballroom filled to capacity by students attending Campus Auxiliary Service's annual Food Show.
Each spring, CAS offers free samples of products being considered for menus around campus. This year's show included 22 tables of various products, most of which were being offered by manufacturers already holding contracts with CAS.
"People who are already here have a vested interest in this event," said Mark Scott, executive director of CAS. "They want to keep their products out there for students to see, and if we notice interest in some of the new varieties, like different flavors of the Intense Milk, for example, we'll see if we can figure out a way to expand what we offer to fit what the data [from the surveys] say about what everyone wants."
"Of course, we also have to consider cost," he added. "The last thing we want to do is price gouge."
"We already provide the pita and wrap bread products on campus," explained Tony Said, regional manager of Father Sam's Bakery, a manufacturer based in Buffalo, N.Y. "But we have about eight different flavors and right now CAS carries maybe four or five."
The products on display at the food show came from a mix of more well-known corporations such as General Mills and Campbell's, as well as local manufacturers, most of which were represented by food brokers. Brokers did not represent every local manufacturer at the expo, though.
"We're committed to providing local, healthy foods for consumers," said J.J. Nicholson, project manager of Red Jacket Orchards. "We're here to promote our products at Wegmans, as well as hopefully see if the school would like to offer more of our products. We've found that the tendency is to most prominently sell products from bigger corporations like Pepsi. I think there's some value to be found in local products as well."
CAS's main broad line food distributer is U.S. Foods, but "not all of these products are in the U.S. Foods network," Scott said. "We want to look for what new products would work in a college environment, and this food show is a great test of that."
According to Scott, CAS will tabulate the data from the food show surveys and use that to determine what changes to make in the products they offer as they continue to try to provide the best, most desirable options to the campus.