For students, fish is brain food

What are college students eating these days? Lemon Herbed Baked Tilapia, Fish Tacos and New England Clam Chowder, according to Sodexo’s annual College Food Trends list, published on Monday.

Lemon Herbed Baked Tilapia ranked eighth on the list of the 10 most popular food trends nationwide. Topping the list were Apricot-Glazed Turkey, Meatloaf with Frizzle-Fried Onions, Vietnamese Pho (Rice Noodle Soup), Vegetarian Lentil Shepherd’s Pie and Chicken Adobo (Mexican Stew with Chilies).

When ranked by region, Fish Tacos came out on top in the Southwest, while New England Clam Chowder placed No. 1 in the Northeast.

“Comfort food is trendy for students because familiar favorites can alleviate stress linked to studying and being away from home,” said Tom Post, Sodexo’s president of campus services. “The biggest change we’re seeing is that students are expanding the category of feel-good foods to include comfort world cuisine, such as a Mexican stew or a Vietnamese noodle soup, and they are more open to vegetarian dishes with a flair.”

“Being exposed to the cuisine of the region where you’re studying is part of the college experience for students,” said Chef Rob Morasco, Sodexo’s senior director of offer development. “A student from New England who attends Tulane in New Orleans might adopt red beans and rice as comfort food, while a Southerner studying at MIT might make clam chowder a new favorite.”

The 2010 College Food Trends list was developed by Sodexo’s customer insight team with research from the company’s student board of directors and culinary team of chefs and vendor partners, student food choice awards events, Nielsen’s Annual Restaurant Audit, Teenage Research Unlimited, Technomics Menu Monitor and NPD Group.

Sodexo is a worldwide foodservice provider, serving more than 10 million customers daily in corporations, healthcare facilities, retirement centers, schools and government buildings. The North American division is based in Gaithersburg, Md., and has annual sales of USD 7.7 billion (EUR 5.3 billion).

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