Access to nutritional information for food and drink items offered by Chartwells is limited to those who have smartphones at Ohio Wesleyan University.
Those without such devices are left in the dark about what they’re eating and drinking.
According to a Pew Research poll conducted in May 2013, 79 percent of 18-24 year olds in the US have a smartphone.
The remaining 21 percent of young people without smartphones are without access to Chartwell’s nutritional information app.
According to Gene Castelli, Chartwells’ manager at Ohio Wesleyan University, nutrition information is available through an app called, AppOnCampus, which is available for iOS and Android devices.
While the app does provide nutritional information for food items that are prepared daily at Smith Hall’s Pulse on Dining, and the Hamilton-Williams Marketplace, not everyone on campus can access this information on the go.
Despite Chartwells’ website, (dineoncampus.com) offering the same nutritional information that is provided through the app, it is inconvenient for students without smartphones to access this information.
Junior Kate Hudson said, “I most likely won’t go to the cafeteria to look at [the] food, leave to find a computer to get the facts just to come back again to buy my food.”
Many students who do not have smartphones are saying that they would prefer a print out of nutrition facts for food items and have them displayed near the food.
“There have been plenty of times when I would have liked to know the nutritional info,” said sophomore Cecilia Smith. “And it’s true that if you’re on the spot with a dumb phone, that information isn’t going to be found.”
Smith added, “I’d much rather have the information right in front of me. I hate being the person who has to ask, ‘Oh, do you know what’s in this?’”
Nutrition facts for many food items not available to anyone, even with the app on their smartphones.
Students seeking the nutritional facts for any food item bought anywhere but Smith or the Ham-Wil food court, such as at the University Cafe or the Science Center Food Cart, are flat out of luck. These locations do not disclose the nutritional information of the food they carry.
Other locations where the nutritional facts of food is unknown include the Stuyvesant Hall Cafe, and the cafe in Beeghly Library.
Both the app and the website only provide nutrition facts for the coffee and espresso beverages on the menu.
“With the myriad of fresh offerings made on campus and venues we have across campus, this is the first big major push for items to carry nutritional information,” Castelli said.
“We will continue to build on this in an effort to continue to provide culinary information to our guests.”
Assistant Professor Christopher L. Fink, chairman of the Department of Health and Human Kinetics, said he believes Chartwells’ ought to post nutrition information at each location.
“I think that having information available at the site of purchase would be the best option, since online information requires students to take several steps to access that data,” Fink said. “Steps that probably only the most interested students would take.”