First, for those that don’t know, SODEXO provides meals to the University of Lethbridge students, staff, and faculty. This article is relevant to those interested in the City of Lethbridge and or Food Marketing and or the University of Lethbridge.
When you google the term Sodexo the first site that comes up is Sodexo.com. The description tag for Sodexo.com reads “Sodexo provides a wide range of services that improve the quality of daily life of millions of consumers worldwide:”
What’s happening in Lethbridge, Alberta would seem to require a rewrite of that tag to, “Sodexo provides a wide range of services that improve the quality of daily life of millions of consumers worldwide – except for the consumers at the University of Lethbridge:”
On its website, Sodexo states that it is the world’s third largest outsourcing company and the world’s 22nd largest employer. With such a large influence on the daily lives of millions of people, what is happening in Lethbridge may influence more people than those at the University’s campus.
Clicking the link to Corporate Citizenship on the Sodexo website presents a very rosy picture; mostly that of happy and healthy people.
As a former University of Lethbridge student I am somewhat qualified to comment on the Sodexo-U of L debacle. I also receive email updates from an on-campus student and community advocacy group. Here is the email I received Monday, April 12, 2010.
|Clean Up Sodexo
Rally for Better Food at the U of L!
Wednesday, April 14 at 12:00pm – lunchtime
Let’s tell Sodexo to clean up its act or the U of L can look for
- stop the price gouging of U of L students
- better quality food at better prices
- more vegetarian, Halal and Kosher choices
- pay Sodexo rank and file workers a descent wage and treat them
Click for more on Lethbridge and Calgary Marketing.
Considering the dichotomy between Sodexo ‘s self-image and what some customers consider the image of Sodexo I did a little research.
In an August 2008 article in the Stoke on Trent Sentinel entitled, “Cleaner wards vow as new staff arrive” I found the following comment:
Senior steward Chris Bourne said: “We expected teething troubles, but I am surprised it has gone so badly because Sodexo has a good track record. “A lot of the food I have seen patients expected to eat has been disgusting.”
If you google, Sodexo bad food
you get this link: http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/tags/sodexo/ which is the story of food poisoning at a school.
After reading the good and the bad about Sodexo I did a little research on food poisoning incidents. In May of 2008, the Ottawa Citizen reported that “Up to 13 million Canadians, more than 40 per cent of the population, will suffer from food-borne illnesses this year, an epidemic that medical experts say costs up to $1.3 billion annually in lost productivity and medical expenses.”
Considering Sodexo’s market share, I am surprised that there are not more easily found reports on food related issues. That said, the beef that some of the University of Lethbridge students have with SODEXO is a pretty big issue. The students’ request build a nightmare scenario for a food service provider: after quality, selection, and price of food in combination with employee treatment, all that is left for a restaurant to offer is decor – and Sodexo doesn’t even have that.
I wish my former University (namely the student body) good luck in its fight for a better university experience.