Frank Wojciechowski

If you ate a burger on campus during the last year, did you notice anything new? Those juicy grilled patties are a blend of 60 percent grass-fed beef and 40 percent local portobello mushrooms — otherwise known as the Princeton Crafted Burger. All-beef burgers are no longer available on campus.

The change is part of Princeton’s Sustainability Action Plan. “Eating less animal-based protein is often the single most effective thing an individual can do to combat climate change, erosion, and water- and soil-quality degradation,” said Shana Weber, director of the University’s Office of Sustainability.

The burgers, which come from a Trenton supplier, use a proprietary blend “that helps us reduce water use, nitrogen output, land use, and greenhouse-gas emissions,” said Chris Lentz, associate director for campus dining. 

Students had mixed views of the new burger. Karissa Lowe ’20 surveyed 202 students for a sustainability course and found that 19 percent liked it, 16 percent disliked it, 31 percent were neutral, and 32 percent said they don’t eat burgers. More than two-thirds said they were not aware that the burger’s mixture had been changed. “I think it tastes similar to a normal all-beef burger,” Lowe said. “It really does have the texture of a burger.” (A PAW writer agreed, adding, “You could have fooled me.”)

Other sustainable food offerings across campus include the introduction of the elote cake (a Mexican dish made with fresh corn, Cotija cheese, chili powder, and a lime-sour cream topping), the meatless Beyond Burger offered at the Frist grill, vegetable paella offered at Forbes College, and the hummus bar at the Center for Jewish Life.