Ears of green oats on green background


Information on conscious nutrition at the University of Jena
Ears of green oats on green background
Image: MabelAmber/pixabay

The  Studierendenwerk Thüringen is responsible for the economic, social and cultural support of approximately 50,000 students in Thuringia.

In the context of sustainability, the catering in the dining halls and cafeterias of the Studierendenwerk Thüringen is particularly relevant. In the following, we therefore present some of the measures that Studierendwerk Thüringen has taken to meet the challenges in this field of action.

Catering and Food

Lettering MensaRegional Lettering MensaRegional Image: Studierendenwerk Thüringen

Regional catering

Currently, at least 15% of the processed products are regional, which means they come from Thuringia. In addition, many products are grown, raised and processed in farms in the immediate vicinity. To recognize regional products, you have to look for the small "r" (photo). It symbolizes the regional products in the menus on the web, on the display boards and on price rails.

More information about the Studierendenwerk's regional offerings, such as a complete list of all regionally sourced products, can be found on the associated website.

Vegetarian and vegan offers

Last year, the Studierendenwerk Thüringen decided to offer one vegetarian and one vegan dish every day. Although this decision cannot always be implemented under pandemic conditions at the moment, in normal operation at least two of the four meals offered are meat-free.

Cafeteria VegeTable 

As a vegetarian/vegan facility, the Cafeteria Vegetable offers one vegan and one vegetarian dish each day. Special attention is paid to the processing of unprocessed, regional and seasonal products and the use of finished products is avoided as far as possible. You will find the Cafeteria Vegetable on the campus of the university opposite the Ernst-Abbe Mensa.

Sustainable packaging alternatives

At a plenary meeting of the students of the University of Jena, in the winter semester 2019, the student body demanded, among other things, that the use of plastic-free forms of packaging be supported and expanded in all facilities of the Studierendenwerk.

In advance of this meeting, the Thuringia Student Union had already set itself the goal of no longer purchasing non-biodegradable packaging by the end of 2020. This goal was essentially achieved. Only Corona-related, Styrofoam boxes had to be used again and leftovers from the old stock had to be consumed. After the pandemic-related restrictions, the Studierendenwerk Thüringen will no longer purchase non-biodegradable packaging.

A practical tip: If you want to avoid disposable packaging altogether, you can bring your own can, have your food served to you normally on a plate, and transfer it to the can behind the cash register. It's a little inconvenient, but that way there's no waste at all. The same applies to your coffee cup, which you can have filled directly at the vending machine.

Food waste prevention

The Studierendenwerk has taken measures to help reduce food waste to an absolute minimum. These include purchasing according to demand, planning ahead, batch production and further processing of surplus production.

By law, it is not permitted to sell leftover food for hygienic reasons. Once it has crossed the counter or is on display, it cannot be sold or given away to food-sharing alternatives. According to the company's own data, which is based on a study in Erfurt, the largest proportion of food waste is that which has not been eaten by customers. Such an investigation is also planned in Jena to find out where food waste can possibly still be prevented.

Here's another practical tip: Ask for a smaller portion if you're not quite as hungry. That way, less ends up in the trash.

Organic food

All dining halls of the Studierendenwerk Thüringen are certified organic and offer food with organic components. In the respective current menus it is possible to find out about the corresponding offers.


MensaVital lettering MensaVital lettering Image: Studierendenwerk Thüringen

Menu line MensaVital

MensaVital is a Studierendenwerk menu line that focuses on healthy nutrition. Balanced recipes create wholesome and sustainable dishes prepared from natural and fresh ingredients. You can find more information here.