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Odd Burger is now at Western. Will Fanshawe be next?

A photo of the Famous Burger from Odd Burger.
Image Credit: Odd Burger

Post-secondary campuses now have plenty of food options located around various parts of their institutions. This food selection ranges from burgers, butter chicken, pasta, burritos, and more.

One of the largest gaps for students on campus comes from a lack of vegan and vegetarian options, with little able to be found further than salads, some of which even include dressings that use ingredients which aren’t included in a vegan diet.

“We’ve been talking about how we tailor our food that we have on campus to meet the dietary needs of students,” said 2023-2024 Fanshawe Student Union (FSU) president Stephin Sathya. “Not just being healthy, but actual dietary needs, because we want to be able to serve all students in principle, so we have to think about that.”

This comes as the city’s other major educational institution, Western University, recently welcomed an Odd Burger location onto their campus.

Odd Burger, which is a locally developed vegan food chain, is a 100 per cent vegan plant-based business. They focus on remaking popular fast-food favourites into vegan alternatives.

This includes renditions of Big Macs, Whoppers, chicken sandwiches, and more in an attempt to give those who are vegan and vegetarian an option to still enjoy some of the world’s most popular food choices.

Sathya said that there is a huge demand for a vegan option on campus at Fanshawe and that he and his team have been working on tackling it.

“We want to get a survey out to the students just about food programming, as well as food options in general, out to the student body on campus to try and get that student voice out there in terms of what they actually want on campus,” Sathya said.

While students are on the hunt for further vegan options on the Fanshawe campus, there may be some contributing factors as to why Western was able to make the jump first.

“Western has a fairly high-cost meal plan so there is more money available to spend on campus,” said Dave Smith, Director of Retail Services at Fanshawe College. “Our meal plan is limited to only $1,200 per year for residence students only. I believe Western is in excess of $5,000, with a lot more residence students on the plan.”

“Odd Burger, which is a locally developed vegan food chain, is a 100 per cent vegan plant-based business.”

Having other chain locations already on campus, including Harvey’s, Starbucks, Tim Hortons, as well as previously offering such options as Smoke’s Poutinerie, the college itself is no stranger to bringing in local and popular options.

Smith said though that there are a few reasons why it may be tough right now to get a new project such as Odd Burger up and running.

“Colleges usually bear the expense of equipment and getting the location ready,” he explained. “With the decline in international students over the next few years, we will be limited on the need for another food concept unless we replace an existing brand.”

He went on to say that, even though it seems like a tougher task at the moment, he’s excited by the potential and eager to see how Western’s location progresses.

“I would wait and see how the Odd Burger is received by the Western students,” Smith said.

Vegan options are becoming more and more of not just a want, but also a growing need for students attending Fanshawe.

Time will tell if Fanshawe will see its own Odd Burger opening on its campus, but the introduction of this vegan chain at Western sets a strong precedent for the future of vegan food at post-secondary campuses going forward.