Solving the No Time for Breakfast Dilemma

The Lempert Report
May 16, 2019

Millions of Americans skip breakfast daily despite the fact that missing breakfast has been associated with higher rates of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Sodexo, the food service contractor has teamed up with Starship Technologies to do something about it on two college campuses, George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and Northern Arizona University where they have launched an army of robots to deliver breakfast as per a report by Forbes.

According to a Sodexo spokesperson, “an extra 1,500 breakfast orders have been delivered autonomously since Starship and Sodexo joined forces to debut the delivery robots on the campus of George Mason University.” The spokesperson claims that this activity mirrors a similar uptick in breakfast consumption at corporate campuses where Starship’s food-delivery robots also have a presence.

“It is extremely important for college students to eat breakfast,” says Beth Winthrop, a registered dietitian on staff in Sodexo's Universities program, which oversees the food service environments of more than 700 college campuses. “College is a very stressful time of life," she says. "Getting up in time to eat breakfast is a challenge for many students.”

“The cool thing about this program is that its not just fun technology for the sake of technology,” Winthrop says about the food delivering bots. “It can improve student health in regard to academic and athletic performance,” she says. Winthrop notes that there is a body of research that shows that increased “focus, engagement and the ability to really give your all academically” are closely related to breakfast consumption.

In a release announcing the Northern Arizona University robots, Barry Telford, CEO for Sodexo North America’s Universities West program, called U.S. college students “prolific users of food delivery apps” who increasingly seek out “convenience, ease and diversity of options.”

Recent headlines have highlighted disheartening nutrition trends on college campuses, such as dismal rates of fruit and vegetable intake and a growing number of food insecure students.