VITAM puts 'food for thought' on the table

The TU/e canteens run by new caterer VITAM won't all look the same after the New Year. They will be restyled to create five different concepts and their product ranges will vary. VITAM hopes that students and employees will feel challenged to think about their food and drink, and that what they consume will fuel new ways of thinking.

photo VITAM

A university is an environment where lifelong friendships are made and that experience wouldn't be the same without good coffee, tasty bread rolls and good soup, believe Joost Homminga, whose focus is business development, and his colleague Mark Hufken, operational manager of campus locations at VITAM.

“Because that coffee is so important, we'll be bringing baristas into three of the concepts that you will see at the five locations. And our staff will receive the necessary training. The food outlets in question are the Bakery café in Vertigo and Atlas, the Deli concept in Gemini and MetaForum, and Grilzz in the Auditorium,” says Hufken.

Homminga adds, “Deli is a ‘fast casual’ concept where you can get coffee and a quick bite to eat, but still its products are honest, healthy and fresh. For healthy and tasty food at affordable prices the food outlet par excellence is the Campus Kitchen. Nothing extreme, just a variety of freshly prepared dishes from everyday cuisines across the world.

Haricots verts without ham

Two other concepts are Campus Kitchen and Harry Covèrt. The latter name is a play on words (it is pronounced like the French luxury green beans) that VITAM has created to indicate that vegetarian food is served. “Think of vegetarian hamburgers and pizzas with vegetable toppings. But that's not the only innovation: customers can use bamboo pincers to eat the salad. This brings out the taste of the food. You eat more slowly and with every mouthful you take in a lot of oxygen. Which helps you taste the salad better,” says Homminga. Harry Covèrt is coming to Atlas.

The Campus Kitchen (in Helix, MetaForum, Gemini and Flux) is similar to the present situation in which bread and sandwich fillings are on the shelves, but complemented by freshly filled rolls, soup and hot dishes on the counter. “However, you will see fewer deep-fried products and the monopacks on sale will be few and far between. Cheese and meat products will be weighed, in keeping with VITAM’s slogan ‘Say no to mono’. We'll also be bidding farewell to the little packets of salt and pepper. Going a step further: salt will not be actively offered nor added to the food due to its impact on our health. But we will have salt and pepper mills standing next to the cash register,” explains Hufken. “Everyone will still have the freedom to choose.”

The cornerstones of VITAM’s product range at TU/e are customer-focus, vitality, sustainability and 'good, better, best'. The last-mentioned means there will be something to choose for every wallet. As for sustainability, VITAM works with the seasons. Homminga says, “Industrially grown beans from Peru are not sustainable and neither are industrially grown asparagus from Limburg cultivated on hot mats. To guarantee sustainability, we are cooperating with Milieu Centraal, an advisory center, so that we know we're on the right track.”


The men at VITAM hope that customer-focus will naturally lead to caterer-focus. “We really do want to hear what our customers want to eat. We encourage our staff to listen to their customers and to actively ask about their wishes. The range we'll be bringing in January 2019 will undoubtedly have changed completely in five years' time, in response to the wishes of our target group. We believe in the power of cooperation.”

As well as talking with customers, VITAM is keen to measure satisfaction using an active feedback system. “We are looking into the possibilities, such as having a QR code on the sales receipt, on the tables or on our website.”


VITAM won't be overhauling the canteens completely, just giving them a subtle new look that suits the concept. The countertops will be given a new print, the lighting will be changed and a couple of places will gain an additional refrigeration unit. The cash registers will stay where they are. They won't carry any cash, but will be staffed by a cashier.

Local legends

On the ground floor of Atlas two local legends will be able to offer their foodwares. VITAM is currently in discussion with the owners of the three food trucks between the market hall (Markthal) and the chimney of Ceres. The idea is to change the local legend every six months.

Everything at a glance:

Auditorium: Grilzz and Campus Kitchen
Vertigo: Bakery café
Helix: Campus Kitchen
Gemini: Deli and Campus Kitchen
Flux: Campus Kitchen
MetaForum: Deli and Campus Kitchen
Atlas: Bakery café, Harry Covèrt and two local legends.

Laplace and Paviljoen will be running a small product range including bread and soup during the period of removal to Atlas. This won't be the case at Traverse.

In Luna there will be no VITAM catering.

The opening times of each location and premises will remain as per the current planning. Although that too may change in response to customers expressing other wishes.

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