Lindsay Haas, an MDining Culinary and Nutrition Support Specialist, met with University of Michigan students last year to listen to their concerns over the lack of healthy beverage options at the residential dining halls. After considering their feedback, Haas decided to test a new healthy beverage dispensary machine called Bevi.
A Bevi machine, which offers students the choice of either still or sparkling water with four different flavor options, will be installed in the South Quad residential dining hall on Feb. 26, as part of a two-month trial period.
Haas found many students were looking for a way to customize their drinks. Bevi gives students control over how much flavor goes into their drink, with possible options ranging from lemon lime to blueberry cucumber. All flavors are zero calories, unsweetened or naturally sweetened. The machine functions through a touch-screen, and ingredient information can be found on the panel.
According to Elliott Rains, the MDining Marketing Coordinator, students wanted something that wasn’t necessarily water, other than soft drinks.
“We want a good middle ground that will satisfy people, fit the need of students and is also health conscious,” he said.
The University is joining in a national movement as more Americans are ditching sugary drinks for healthier alternatives, according to the Huffington Post.
“We've realized that sugary beverages aren't the way to go, but we still like things carbonated,” Dana Ferrante, Bevi’s marketing content writer said. “So this sparkling water trend or unsweetened flavored water is definitely in right now.”
The healthy drink craze is not the only trend Bevi pursues. The company also prides itself on being ecologically friendly, as they reported having saved 15 million plastic bottles in 2017.
Business sophomore Victor Mahdavi interned at a start-up in Cambridge, Mass. that used a Bevi machine.
“Some of the appeal was … not having to bring a plastic water bottle, which would lead to waste,” said Mahdavi. “(The machine) looks really cool. It would add some tech-savviness to the dining hall.”
MDining will be gauging students’ reaction to Bevi with comment cards near the machine.
“We're looking for student feedback,” said Haas. “If there’s a lot interest from students across campus, then we would consider keeping it and bringing Bevi into more locations next fall.”