Welcome to FE&S’ annual college and university issue. Looking back at last year’s coverage, it was all about Generation Y/Millennials and the impact this demographic was having on the market. This year it’s all about Generation Z.

Like many of you, I remember the good old days when one generation actually begat the next. Society in general and marketers in particular have found it necessary to slice and dice the population into ever slimmer segments in order to narrowly focus their attention on the group du jour. In this case, it’s the 17- and 18-year-olds entering college.

So the transition to Gen Z may seem sudden since some members of Gen Y are still in college. Still, time marches on, so the buying habits and food preferences of Gen Z are of particular concern to college and university foodservice professionals. That’s because the role of foodservice continues to emerge as a focal point for those professionals responsible for attracting and catering to student desires. Today’s colleges and universities use foodservice to differentiate themselves in the competitive business of higher education and, in some instances, as a way to help generate revenue for the institution.

Contributing editor Dana Tanyeri has a fascinating give and take with a handful of influential thinkers from the college and university segment. Their insights provide useful intelligence into the trends that continue to grow and those that may be shifting.

As always, our focus is on bringing you the latest thinking in all the segments that make up the foodservice equipment and supplies universe in a way that is both informative and interesting. We appreciate our engaged professional audience and welcome your feedback and suggestions!