KPU’s new food options look promising

Chartwells provides students and faculty with affordable healthy food

The cafeteria at KPU Surrey campus. (Keet Kailey)

The cafeteria at KPU Surrey campus. (Keet Kailey)

What you eat matters. There is no doubt that health and nutrition should be one of our top priorities as they impact our overall lifestyle and mental state.

The availability of food choices that appeal to customer preferences can promote healthier eating habits, especially for post-secondary students and faculty who need every ounce of energy they can get to keep up with the demands of their personal and academic lives. 

That is why a balanced variety of snacks, meals, and beverages on campus comes in handy to provide food tailored to people’s preferences, and their health and financial needs.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University switched its cafeteria provider from Sodexo to Chartwells last year, and the newly partnered company will serve all KPU campuses for the next 10 years. Chartwells makes a point to focus on providing fresh and locally sourced products for students.

As a third-year KPU student, I got to experience Sodexo’s food options on the Richmond campus during my first-semester pre-pandemic. I spent a reasonable amount of time in the cafeteria for lunch and afternoon snacks because it’s more convenient to get your meals from there than searching outside for other options. 

Initially, I thought they had a fair number of options for pastries, freshly cooked meals, and to-go sandwiches and salads. But I was turned off because some of the items were too pricey, and I saw it often with the packaged sandwiches and salads I always wanted. 

Now that everyone is back on campus, it is very important that we have varied food options to choose from other than Tim Hortons, which has limited food options and nutritional value. 

We spend many hours of our week at KPU campuses in-person, and the closest place we can get meals and snacks with more nutritional value is from the cafeterias. Chartwells left a good impression on me the first time I tried their lunch menu because it was affordable and it had more variety.

They have breakfast and lunch menus that include a side and drink. In addition to the usual burgers, chicken tenders, and breakfast sandwiches, they have packaged salads and bowls that are budget-friendly. For a good price, you can have an à la carte or a full-blown meal. 

They also try to come up with fusions and offer menu items to cater to different cultures. I was surprised by my experience of their special lunch menu for Chinese New Year. It was a complete and well-balanced Asian meal with meats, vegetables, and rice for $10 plus tax. 

Overall, KPU made a good decision to switch to Chartwells with a new take on food services offered at our campuses. What they are putting on the table looks promising even at the beginning. I think there will be more to see, try, and expect from Chartwells, so I’m excited to find out what’s on the menu for the coming semesters.