Haagen-Dazs returns to campus following student feedback
I scream, you scream, Washington University students screamed for ice cream—and Dining Services listened.
After a remarkable amount of student feedback, Dining Services decided to bring back the well-loved Haagen-Dazs ice cream products to Paws & Go and the Village’s Millbrook Market.
After first deciding to remove the product, Dining Services decided to replace it with two options: ice cream by a local vendor called Serendipity and the name-brand Edy’s Ice Cream, both of which were sold at a lower price.
But despite the good intentions behind the decision, the removal of the ice cream brand sparked an uproar among students.
“I was all like, ‘No, I want quality ice cream.’ I can’t trust these [random] ice cream labels to satisfy my sweet tooth needs,” sophomore Meghan Zecchini said.
Despite the student uproar, April Powell, director of marketing and communications for Dining Services, said that there was no noticeable difference in ice cream sales compared to before Haagen-Dazs was removed. However, there was a huge increase in the student feedback that Dining Services received.
“The feedback increased by 100 percent, and that was the biggest piece of the decision to bring it back,” Powell said.
Powell explained that one of the biggest issues students had was that neither Serendipity’s nor Edy’s offered sorbet, unlike Haagen-Dazs, whose sorbets had previously filled freezers on campus. Dining Services therefore made the decision to bring back Haagen-Dazs chocolate and vanilla ice cream and certain flavors of sorbet.
“I appreciated the intent of the local stuff, but it didn’t taste as good,” sophomore Bri Fierro said. “I’m excited that it’s back. I’m totally into the sorbet.”
Powell said that it’s not uncommon for students to be particularly passionate about certain items.
“You get these items that have cult followings, and it’s like, this should never leave the menu,” Powell said. “The half-and-half is one of those types of items. There’d be a full-scale riot [if we stopped offering it].”
Many students believed that Connie Diekman was the culprit in the case of the missing Haagen-Dazs, but Powell explained that the school’s nutrition expert had little to do with the decision.
“If you’re choosing ice cream, it’s not going to be your healthiest snack. It’s an indulgence item,” Powell said. “[Nutrition] didn’t come into play. It was really a value issue.”
Dining Services originally decided to remove Haagen-Dazs products from the shelves because the product’s pricing increased, bringing the ice cream’s price at the on-campus stores up to $5.99.
“We don’t have the same kind of purchasing power as the big-box store,” Powell said. “We felt really odd saying $5.99 when you could get it at a different price at Schnucks or another store.”
The product is now available on Paws & Go shelves once again and will soon be available at the Millbrook Market, still at the same $5.99 price.
Zecchini said that the price would not deter her from buying the ice cream.
“Honestly, since it’s Campus Card, I’d probably still buy it,” Zecchini said. “You can’t put a price on quality.”
Powell noted that with any decision Dining Services makes, the factor that is valued most highly is student opinion and demand.
“We’ll always try to do what’s best, whether that’s from a nutrition standpoint or a pricing and value standpoint,” Powell said. “But sometimes popularity will outweigh all other factors, and we want people to be happy.”