One of the problems we face as students is how to stay healthy. An important part of health is drinking healthy beverages. Most people don’t think about the drinks part of the equation often, focusing more on the food, but by weight, you drink more beverage every day than eat food. Go to the cafeteria, get your meal, and get your drink. In many cases, your drink is at least twice as heavy as your food.
Sodexo has an assortment of drinks available for us at various places around the campus. You’ll find some different items at different places, but the majority of beverages they carry are sodas sold by the Coca-Cola Company. You and I both know it’s not particularly healthy. Tasty, but not healthy.
I don’t care for the Coca-Cola Company any more or less than any other, yet I am particularly aware of how much high-fructose corn syrup (HCFS) is in their non-diet flavored fizzy water. Some years ago I decided I’d cut HFCS from my diet as much as I reasonably could, and I’ve sworn off entire aisles of most megamarts as a result.
I’m not here to impugn personal choices. Some people don’t know where to find alternatives, while others cannot manage the time to find the alternatives and lug them to campus. We have busy lives to lead. However, one of the factors involved in purchasing drinks on campus has to do with cost. The bottled sodas sold by Sodexo are noticeably less expensive than the beverages on the cafeteria’s small section of exotic bottled juices.
I have little doubt that the juice is a more expensive product to purchase at the wholesale level. Wholesale prices drive retail prices, at least in standard commercial operations. Yet it is not the only consideration for those retail prices. The effect on the community and the likelihood that people will buy other products are other important considerations. I want Sodexo to do two things in the name of improving community health:
- Bottled beverages of roughly comparable weight should share the same price. If students and staff have the ability to purchase healthier beverages at the same price as less healthy beverages, it should shift some purchases over to healthier drinks. For that matter, lower prices on healthy drinks may drive more people to the cafeteria.
- Providing a larger selection of locally produced drinks, both sugar-laden and juice, would add extra options to the cafeteria and also give a needed boost to local businesses. I, for one, would love seeing bottles of good local cider.
With easier access to healthier choices, our campus community can be healthier and better able to work through stress-filled semesters. I know this course of action would not be easy, but it goes beyond the bottom-line of dollars and cents toward the community line of dollars and sense.