New first-years, returning sophomores and even upperclassmen can easily take charge of what nutrients they consume by downloading one simple app — the Bite App. The Bite App contains menus from schools and organizations throughout the country but with a few simple clicks, Fairfield University students can “save” the menu for the Tully Dining Room and access it easily whenever they wish.
The Tully menu is divided by day with each meal, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night, sepa rated by a colorful banner. These bannered sections are then further separated into each area of the Tully from the soup and salad station to the grill, gluten-free and chef’s table, among others. For upperclassmen who have limited swipes and want a way to decide which days and meals to use them — this meal item list is undoubtedly the app’s most useful feature.
Despite this, there are some downsides that Sodexo needs to fix before the app can be used to its fullest potential. When foods are selected, a list of nutrition information appears which includes serving size, calories, amount of trans and saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium, fiber, carbohydrates and protein. This enables the ‘Menu Controls’ button on the top right corner of the app to restrict the menu so it only shows items without the allergen the student user selects. Sadly, the nutritional information that appears on this menu is not correct as the app lists foods that are utilized by Sodexo at every location — not specifically for Fairfield. So, while the Tully may be serving that surprisingly decent grilled salmon, the calorie information and serving size on the app may not match what is actually in the Tully.
Realizing that this was a potential health risk, Sodexo workers unexpectedly deleted the Tully menu for several weeks during October. In response to questions, Campus Dietitian Mackenzie Gordon assured that while caloric and other information may have been incorrect on the Bite App, she and her team always ensured that the allergen in- formation was correct. She then reported that she and the other member of the app team had “met to discuss the app and the validity of the information that it provided,” deciding afterwards to “[take] down the app and the information that it provides until we can figure out the kinks.”
On Saturday, Oct. 28, the app went back into operation. While Fairfield’s Sodexo team could not fix the nutrition information during this period, they used the time to ensure that all nutritional signs posted in the Tully had the correct nutritional information, allergen content, serving sizes and calories. After much discussion and many requests from students wishing to know what is being
served in the Tully before swiping, the Sodexo team then re-activated the app with the warning that students only use the app as a guide while relying on the signs posted in the Tully for accurate nutritional, allergen and caloric information.
After hearing that the app was back in operation, Emily Michelini ‘20 observed that, “I really enjoy using the Bite App … Unfortunately, it has not always been correct, so I hope that with the improvements [that will be and have been] made it will not only be more accurate with the food being served, but also with what ingredients the foods contain. I have many food allergies and I hope that for the safety of myself, and other students like me, that these problems have either been fixed or that students will be warned about these problems.”
Despite its flaws, the Bite App is a very useful tool for all years, but it can be especially useful for upperclassmen with limited meal plans who don’t want to waste a swipe for food they can easily prepare in their own kitchens.
Students hope that, once the “kinks” that Gordon mentioned are worked out, the app, or whatever may or may not replace it, will become a life saver — especially for those students with allergies or dietary restrictions.