AMHERST, Mass. – For the second year in a row, UMass Amherst Dining Services has won the Annual Marketing Excellence Award given by Produce Business, the magazine announced in its August issue. The award recognizes the campus for promoting healthy eating and developing a creative marketing campaign to educate students and feature fresh produce on the menu through cooking exhibits during American Produce Week earlier this year.
Ken Toong, the campus’s executive director of food services, says Dining Services partnered this year with the Mushroom Council, the Hass Avocado Board and the National Mango Board to provide several healthy new dishes for the 14,000 diners on its meal plan. “Not only did we feature a variety of mango, mushroom and avocado recipes, but we offered educational sessions to show students the benefits of consuming more produce,” Toong notes.
“We are honored to receive these prestigious national awards,” Toong adds. “Our ‘Stealth Health’ menu strategy features healthier, flavor-driven menu options, and is working well for us. Our goal is to double our diners’ consumption of produce, and we are on our way to serve healthier options based on local produce to our customers while supporting sustainability.” For last year’s award, Dining Services partnered with blueberry growers to hold a “blueberry week” in the dining halls.
Jennifer Leslie Kramer, editor of Produce Business, said, “We are pleased to recognize the marketing mavens such as UMass Amherst for their industry, ingenuity and service to the produce business.”
Other awards received by UMass Amherst Dining Services this year include a Loyal E. Horton Award from the National Association of Colleges and Universities for outstanding residential dining program and the Food Service Director Award given to Toong by Food Service Director Magazine.