At UT, students prefer to go banana

Alex Wilts

Students consume about 77 percent more bananas than they do apples, according to 2013 data from the Division of Housing and Food Service, making them the most popular fruit sold by the University.

In 2013, the University purchased 238,320 bananas, while only purchasing 71,559 apples. Darla Stewart, DHFS assistant director for purchasing and procurement, said the University uses a food management software system to determine how many cases of bananas and other types of fruit should be purchased from the produce vendors who provide shipments daily.

“The [dining hall] managers will go into the system and forecast the number of students or customers they expect to have,” Stewart said. “They say, ‘OK, for this meal period — say, for lunch in [Jester Second Floor Dining] — we’ll probably have 1,500 people.’ They’ll enter 1,500, and the computer, using its data that has been put in, and historic data, will then come up with an amount that needs to be purchased.”

Stewart said the system, which has been in place for about 20 years, is accurate enough that there is rarely any leftover fruit.

“We utilize every bit of fruit,” Stewart said. “If, for instance, there are some bananas, which would be the only fruit that’s leftover, we freeze them and use them in our banana bread.”

According to Scott Meyer, DHFS food service director, besides leftover food items, fruits that sell out are also indicators of how much fruit to purchase.

“Every week, [the system is] updating itself,” Meyer said. “[If the system] told you to buy four cases of apples, and you used all four of them, you might want to get five cases next time.”

According to Stewart, increased methods of transportation have allowed fruit to be shipped globally, while still maintaining excellent quality.

“In the last 20 years, my bet is that there is more fruit being eaten now than then,” Meyer said. 

According to Stewart, the increased education regarding the values of eating fruits may be another reason for increased fruit consumption.

Biology senior Cameron Ginnings said he generally eats a banana once a week when he eats the fajitas in Jester City Limits, and that he makes use of the option in JCL to substitute any side with a piece of fruit or small salad.

“Whenever I get the fajitas, I like the beans, but I don’t like the rice, so I get a banana for a side,” Ginnings said. “[Bananas] taste good. That’s why I choose them over an apple.”