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Food and Beverage Choices Policy

Making healthy options more accessible. 

UC Berkeley is strongly committed to supporting the health and well-being of all members of the campus community by ensuring that healthy food and beverage choices are available in the food service operations identified in this policy. This policy establishes nutrition standards for retail food service and markets, dining commons, vending machines, Athletic concessions, and University-sponsored meetings and events to ensure accessibility of whole and fresh foods, provide healthier alternatives to sugar-sweetened beverages, and engage positive communications promoting healthier choices. The policy aims to improve accessibility by having a variety of nutritious choices available, promoting these options, placing these options in easy-to-find locations, keeping the prices affordable, and including options and ingredients from various cuisines reflective of Berkeley’s cultural diversity.

This policy was updated in November 2020. Major changes include the addition of dining commons and expanded vending standards. 

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UC Berkeley Food & Beverage Choices Policy


Health education alone, in the absence of change to the food environment, doesn't always produce lasting behavioral change. A nutrition policy to make it easier to find healthy options on the Berkeley campus is one of the most effective environmental strategies to prevent certain types of chronic disease and improve the diet and health outcomes of the campus population. This policy will help to ensure that healthy food and beverage choices are available in retail food service operations and markets, dining commons, vending machines, Athletic concessions, and University-sponsored meetings and events. This policy focuses on making the healthy choice the easy choice, rather than taking choices away. The aim is to give individuals a broader range of options from which to choose. 

What Is It?

Quick Summary:

  • Items meeting the nutrition standards will be offered at most campus restaurants, retail, dining commons, and athletic concessions (see more detail below)
  • 50% of options in food vending and 70% of options in beverage vending will meet nutrition standards
  • Nutritious and sustainable options should be provided at campus meetings and events 

This policy applies to:

  • University-operated retail food service operations on campus
  • University-operated dining commons, including Cal Dining locations that are off-campus 
  • University-operated retail markets and convenience shops on campus 
  • Concessions 
  • Third-party tenants with new leases or lease renewals on campus
  • Food and beverage vending machines
  • University-sponsored meetings and events 

Examples of the Nutrition Standards 

Bear Minimum Nutrition Standards for Food Service

Healthy Approach to Variety and Choice:

  • Nutritious, fresh, whole foods that are minimally processed.
  • Options and ingredients from various cuisines are reflective of Berkeley’s cultural diversity.  
  • Fresh vegetables and fruit are featured across meals and snacks; and available as sides.  
  • Whole grain options are provided; 100% whole grains are recommended as the standard choice.
  • Plant-based protein or entrées are always available when meat entrée is offered.
  • Lean meats that are minimally processed.  
  • Trans-fat-free plant oils. 

Quality and Quantity: 

  • Options of small/moderately-sized portions of baked items, pastries, and desserts.
  • Options of healthier breakfast fare.
  • Combination meals paired with sides of salad greens/non‐fried vegetables or fresh fruit (instead of fries or chips) if combination meals are provided.
  • Combination meals with half-portion entrée paired with sides of salad greens/ non‐fried vegetables or fresh fruit if combination meals are provided. 
  • Cooking techniques prioritize grilling, roasting, stir-frying, baking, and poaching, with minimal deep-frying used as a preparation method.   

For more information, including vending standards, see the full policy on the Campus Policies and Procedures website.  

Who Participates

Campus Restaurants and Retail Markets

  • Bear Market 
  • Bear's Lair
  • Berkeley Student Food Collective
  • Brown's
  • Cafe Think
  • Cafe Zeb
  • CKCub
  • Coffee Lab
  • Cub Market
  • Eateries at Student Union
  • Free Speech Movement Cafe
  • Golden Bear Cafe
  • Goldie's 
  • ‘oṭṭoytak
  • Peet's Coffee (in Brown's, the Den, and Golden Bear Cafe)
    • Promotes an unsweetened beverage menu
    • Provides point-of-service added sugar information - read here (coming soon) or ask your barista. 
  • Press
  • Take Eat Easy
  • The Den
  • V & A Cafe
  • Women's Faculty Club
  • Yali's Qualcomm

Bold locations are currently in compliance. Please note all locations are not fully open due to the pandemic and may not have had the chance to reach compliance. Learn more at Eat Well Berkeley Restaurants and Retail.  

Dining Commons

All dining commons are open to the public.

  • Cafe 3
  • Clark Kerr
  • Crossroads
  • Foothill
  • International House

Bold locations are currently in compliance.  

Athletic Concessions

  • Athletic events at Cal Memorial Stadium and Haas Pavilion  

Meetings & Events

Peet's Coffee


  • Snack, entree, and meal vending
  • Beverage vending
  • More information about vending   

Voluntary Participation

Foodservice operations recommended (but not required) to participate:

  • Off-campus restaurants but on University-controlled property
  • Campus restaurants that are not under leases (independent, private, etc.).   

Those who participate voluntarily will be recognized on this page.

How You Can Support a Healthy Campus Environment  

Basic Needs 
UC Berkeley offers CalFresh Clinics, a Food Assistance Program, a Food Pantry, and more. Learn more on the Basic Needs website.

If you purchase food for University meetings and events - Include nutritious and sustainable options as outlined in the Healthy Meeting and Event Guide. This should be done when University funds are used to purchase food or beverages for University meetings and events. In addition, water, preferably served in bulk to minimize the use of single-use water bottles, must be offered as a choice when beverages are offered. Try one of the Eat Well Berkeley caterers!  

Provide feedback - Everyone in the campus community, including visitors, is encouraged to provide feedback to us and food service operators.  

Look for healthy choices on campus - Support businesses that offer healthy options. Look for the Eat Well Berkeley sign and check mark. Find Eat Well Berkeley restaurants here

Vendors - Visit our Eat Well Berkeley Restaurants and Retail page to find out how you can become an Eat Well Berkeley partner. This process may involve adding a few healthy choices, adjusting your beverage product mix, and/or using simple strategies to promote the healthier choice. Our nutrition staff is here to help. 

Looking for a microwave or water refill station? 
Check out Berkeley Food Institute's foodscape map

Development and Oversight

This policy was developed by a working group of subject matter experts from University Health Services, the School of Public Health, CNR - Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology, and the Berkeley Food Institute. This group reviewed nutrition policies, best practices, public health guidelines, and toolkits, and consulted with colleagues throughout the country. The policy was vetted and reviewed by administrators, faculty, stakeholders, students, and vendors. 

University Health Services is responsible for the implementation and oversight of this policy. This policy is overseen by the Food and Beverage Choices Policy Advisory Committee, which consists of registered dietitians and other public health experts. 

Provide Feedback

Complete this form to provide feedback regarding the Food & Beverage Choices Policy or any of its components. 

For vending issues, please contact the phone number listed on the machine.