Biological Sciences Building

The Biological Sciences Building has the first Campus Market Express on UGA's campus.

The University of Georgia’s Dining Services and the Coca-Cola Company plan to install around 30 Campus Market Express vending outlets across UGA’s campus. One of the first is open now in the lobby of the Biological Science Building, replacing the old Bulldog Café. Here is my first impression: the market offers low-quality food at high prices. The vending outlets are a step in the wrong direction, and they don’t work for our community.

The Campus Market Express sells numerous products with a steep markup. Lay’s Sea Salt and Vinegar chips, for example, cost $1.00/oz in the Campus Express but only $0.68/oz in the Creamery. Coke is only available in large 20-oz bottles while the 12-oz cans available elsewhere have vanished. The price increase is ~40% per oz of Coke. Many other products from headache pills to coffee are more expensive than elsewhere on campus. The Coca-Cola Company cannot be blamed for increasing its profits, but UGA can do better.

No doubt, feeding the tens of thousands of UGA students and faculty requires all kinds of styles and tastes. The offerings of this market, however, are not in line with UGA’s obligation to provide healthy nutrition. Most products contain too much calories, salt, sugar or fat. Don’t get me wrong: everyone craves ice-cold soda, chips or chocolate once in a while, and it will not kill us. We need vending options to fulfill those needs, but do we need marketing of such products in the lobby of the Biological Science Building with numerous video screens showing slices of pizza and glasses slowly filling with Coca Cola? Indeed, moderation is key. According to a recent study in the Journal of American Medical Association, higher consumption of sweetened soft drinks was associated with higher mortality. Aggressive promotion of sugary snacks and drinks goes against providing healthy food to students and faculty.

When UGA Dining Services left the Biological Science Building, it could have chosen someone else to take its place. However, UGA and the Coca-Cola company, a long-time supporter of the university, entered into a multi-decade contract to exclusively sell Coke products on campus. This contract would require food carts and other independent food vendors on campus to only sell Coca-Cola products, preventing variety on campus.

Are there any advantages to the new Campus Market Express? The UGA Dining Service webpage declares such markets “are on the leading-edge of today’s food service trends … for universities across the nation … allowing individuals ... to purchase food anytime the building is open.” I used to do all-nighters in the lab and, yes, it might have been nice to be able to buy a snack. However, for this purpose, a standard vending machine such as the ones present in the 3rd-floor lobby of the Biological Science center would suffice.

Automated non-stop vending of expensive unhealthy food should not be the future for UGA. UGA can and should do better promoting healthy eating habits including freshly prepared food, local sources and vegetarian offers.


Correction: An original version of this article misidentified the building in which the first Campus Market Express is located as the "Biology Sciences" building. The Red & Black regrets these errors.

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(5) comments

Dear Hookyaolbuddyup, I find it funny too, may be a little bit on the primitive side. As I see it the problem is that UGA dinning services joint forces with Coca-Cola, a company that fills the beaches and oceans with their plastic bottle trash and is a main contributor to the obesity crises world-wide, to rip of students and staff with $3 coffee and 10-day old sandwiches. And hiding behind the bulldog will not help. They don't care about students, UGA or the world. Their god is money.


vrlewis97

As someone who spends a reasonable amount of time in this building, I also agree that the new campus express is not a better replacement than to the UGA dining services that was previously here. There is a lack of vegan and vegetarian options, and the majority of the food options are sugary, processed foods, that additionally are quite expensive. I also do not believe the electronic cash register is as efficient as having someone work there-- very often it is not working, and so if the register is down, you're just out of luck and do not get to eat anything at all. I very much enjoy the selections offered at the Creamery, and wish that there was something similar on this side of campus.

PerfectStranger67

Who wrote this, an 11 year old girl? These Expresses are not only intended for meals, but for quick snacks. Do you think the fare at movies, football games, concerts, etc. is fairly priced? Of course not, you're are paying for the convenience of a quick snack.....which, btw...you do NOT HAVE to buy if you don't want to. Grow up, and grow a pair....no one is trying to steal your lunch money.

Dear PerfectStranger67,

UGA is not (yet) a movie theater, a football stadium or a concert hall but a place where people work and study and thus deserve proper foot choices not quick-snacking with $3 plus tax self service coffee and 10-day old sandwiches. BTW, if you meant the word "girl" to be offensive, it is not in my world.

Hookyaolbuddyup

Now that’s funny! Grow a pair! Time to focus your energy somewhere else Mr. Fancy Pants. If you don’t like it, nobody really cares. If you think it is too expensive, don’t buy it. Get a life and get over it. You are exactly what is wrong with this world, easily offended by any little thing that you don’t like. Go crawl into your “safe space” and hide from those high prices before they get you. I’d hate for them to offend your delicate sensibilities.

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