Students who walked through the MUB’s Union Court on Wednesday were treated to a bit of free food as a part of What’s On Wednesday’s “Mini Food Show.”
Several food and beverage vendors were posted up at the tables near the Union Court, giving away free samples of their products for students to try. According to the event’s page on WildcatLink, UNH puts on a Mini Food Show every spring and UNH Assistant Retail Manager Dahlia Nardone, the show is a chance for UNH students to familiarize themselves with the numerous vendors whose food is used in UNH dining.
“Our vendors ask us when is a good day to come out,” Nardone said. “It’s like a vendor showcase.”
One of the featured products that students could try was a variety of salsa options from Mitchell’s Fresh. Mitchell’s is a local vendor based in Manchester and is owned and operated by Corey Mitchell, a fourth-generation Concord native, according to the company’s Facebook page.
UNH uses products like Mitchell’s in many of its retail operations, including Serrano’s and Wildcatessan, and also featured products that are similarly used from Grandy Oats, a granola company located in Maine.
These local products—which boast fresh and natural ingredients—are precisely why UNH hosts the Mini Food Shows, according to Nardone.
“A lot of folks just want, as salesmen, they want to get their voice out to explain their product,” she said. “So you know, Mitchell’s comes right out of Manchester…so having folks out here really explaining the message on local, organic and where do we get our product. What are you eating?”
In addition to salsa, chips and granola, students could sample some of the smoothie flavors served by the Union Court’s Freshens, along with Pete’s Coffee, which is served in Albert’s of Kingsbury. There were also a few larger vendors, such as Coca-Cola, which was giving away Dr. Pepper and Canada Dry products, and a Nescafé coffee machine.
Nardone said that she would ideally like to have more events for students to get familiar with vendors and with UNH’s retail dining options, which includes Albert’s, Cornerstone in the Paul School, the Dairy Bar by the Whittemore Center, Philbrook Cafe, Union Court, Wildcatessen and Zeke’s Cafe in Dimond Library.
“I would like to do these very often, but this was the only opportunity that I got,” Nardone said of Wednesday’s event, which also included a “Pita-Palooza” at Philbrook Cafe’s Pita Pit, located inside the Philbrook Dining Hall.
In total, Nardone estimated there would be about 2,000 “touches,” in marketing terms, at the Union Court Mini Food Show.
“We’ll at least have, I’m hoping, 4,000 eyeballs on our product,” she said with a laugh. “Just getting aware of it. Even though they may not take a sample, they’ll know, here it is.”
For students who missed out on the free food, there’s good news: UNH has even more ideas to get students familiar with vendor products, including a Pita Pit trailer that will be ready in time for the opening of Wildcat Stadium in the fall.
Be sure to check out the MUB, UNH Dining and WildcatLink for more information on events such as What’s on Wednesday.