Red & Blue Market speeds up dining for UA community
Gabriela Diaz / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Red & Blue Market provides quick to-go food at campus eateries. The market offers a variety of pre-made products including gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian, in addition to sushi and sandwiches.
A new to-go food line is now available for UA students, with the official launch taking place in March.
Arizona Student Unions designed and created the Red & Blue Market last semester to be a quick, accessible way for students to grab pre-made entrees. Gluten-free and vegan options are also available to broaden the spectrum of food choices available to students.
According to Todd Millay, marketing manager of Arizona Student Unions, Red & Blue Market foods can be found all across campus at locations like Pangea, U-Mart, Fuel, Highland Market, Park Avenue Market and Nucleus @ BIO5. Cactus Grill will incorporate the Red & Blue Market within a few weeks.
The slogan for the grab and go food is “Red & Blue Market, delicious and fast, get it while it lasts.”
A soft launch of the program began in November 2012 and an official launch with a ribbon-cutting ceremony will happen around March 2013, according to Millay. This means the Arizona Student Unions are happy with all the production of the food, that the food is consistently displayed properly and they have all the recipes they want, Millay added.
“When I got here in September, within a few weeks I was working on [the Red & Blue Market]; I was involved in it from the start,” Millay said. “I would say that the union leadership has been looking for a solution for grab-and-go because you guys [students] are moving pretty quickly. You’re pretty limited on your options and are in a hurry.”
Some students said they are happy with the new to-go food options.
“It’s a big improvement from what it was, so I’m enjoying this.” said Kauri Modrzejewski, a freshman in the Colleges of Letters, Arts and Science. “This is the first time I’ve been here [U-Mart] since they added all the salads and I like it.”
Other students have already begun to show a preference for the food made available through the Red & Blue Market.
“I always get the chunky chicken salad,” said Caitlin Rodriguez, a graduate student studying English. “I think the sandwiches end up kind of being stale, but this stuff [the small sides] always ends up being fresh.”
Focus groups of gluten-free and vegan students were used to develop and refine the recipes for the market. Tasting sessions were held where Arizona Student Unions staff presented 15 different recipes and the students gave feedback, Millay said.
“What is out now is what they loved the most,” Millay said. “We really engaged the student groups for helping us develop the gluten-free and vegan sections.”
Pangea has a separate section of the Red & Blue Market just for gluten-free students with its own microwave and refrigerator so the food doesn’t get contaminated, Millay said.
The initiative to incorporate gluten-free and vegan options, which are marked with separate, color coded labels, came from parents asking for what food options the UA had to offer for their children, Millay said.
“We wanted them to become more and more aware that anytime they see [the label],” Millay said. “And [if] they are a vegan [or gluten-free], [they think], ‘I can get something to eat. I know that something is going to be there for me on a consistent basis.’”
The Red & Blue Market is still making changes based on its sales results. A meeting on Jan. 29 led to the decision to have 11 vegan options and 12 gluten-free options, including dessert, Millay said. Locations that serve the Red & Blue Market will pick six or seven of the recipes to sell per day, switching it up until they find what really works for students, Millay explained.
“If the students don’t buy the vegan edamame salad, then we will simply replace it with something we think that they will like,” Millay said. “We will just keep engaging the groups until we figure out the proper mix of what everybody likes to buy.”