Your Position:

Sustainability, ecology, quality

Sustainability in general means using all resources (social, ecological and economic) responsibly. That implies using regenerative systems (cycles) in a way that makes it possible to keep the nature of those resources intact and have them regenerated naturally.

The Studentenwerk Dresden has been dealing with different topics concerning the idea of sustainability for several years. For example, by opening a cafeteria that only sells organic meals, a vegetarian day and the program MensaVital and also fair trade products and GMOs, which will be presented in the following list.

Drei Säulen der Nachhaltigkeit

Vegetarian and vegan offers/meat use

The DGE guidelines stipulate that food consumption based on plant-based foods not only promotes human health, but also contributes to the conscious use of animal resources.

That's why we have been offering steadily more vegetarian dishes since the early 1990s and labeled vegan dishes since 2011. The offerings are dynamic and are adapted to the specific canteen according to sales.

As a result, meat use has been reduced by about 35 tons over the past 10 years.


mensaVital is a project of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Produktentwicklung by the East German student unions and has by now become brand of the German student union.

mensaVital means:

  • A nutritionally enhanced and balanced combination of ingredients*
  • Fresh and organic ingredients
  • Vitamin-preserving and low-fat preparation
  • Our contribution to “5 a day”(5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day)
  • Carefully selected produce (whole wheat products, legumes, nuts, lean meat, crunchy, colorful vegetables)
  • Using high quality fats and oils
  • Using fresh herbs instead of dried spice mixtures
  • A balanced selection of meat, fish, vegan and vegetarian dishes in a week
  • No fried or breaded meals
  • No heavily industrially prepared products
  • No aromas and flavor enhancers
  • Creative recipes with seasonal products
  • A combination of regional and international culinary influences

* A portion at lunchtime correlates to the energy demand of an adult (19-65 years) at sedentary work.(physical activity level PAL = 1,4). (DGE Bonn; 2008, 1. Auflage; Qualitätsstandards für Betriebsverpflegung; S. 11)

Offering such menu lines is not very easy and complex. Fresh and little pre-prepared produce have a certain price und also demand a greater workload for the canteen staff. Even the recipes have to be followed strictly. But this is the only way to make sure that the portion sizes are right.

Fair Trade

Fair Trade is supposed to ameliorate the working conditions of small farmers and agricultural workers in rural areas. The Studentenwerk Dresden makes its own contribution to that by using almost only fair trade coffee in all canteens and cafeterias. This type of coffee is produced by organizations of small farmers in Central and South America where the workers receive a guaranteed minimum wage. The coffee is bought directly from the farmers to avoid intermediaries and possible shortfalls in revenues. Therefore, the producers have to commit to decide together about how the profits shall be used. Furthermore, they have to participate in sustainable development in the fields of ecology, education and promotion of women. The Studentenwerk has been working on this project for almost five years and has even incorporated fair trade chocolate bars into its range.


Organisms which were modified with methods of genetic engineering, are described as genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Everything that is produced with GMOs, contains GMOs and/or itself is genetically modified has to be labeled according to the Regulation on genetically modified food and feed (VO 1829/2003/EG). Products that are labeled as such and VO 1830/2003 will not be used in our canteens.


Fish is an important source of food and income worldwide and at the same time comes from a very sensitive ecosystem. However, for reasons of nutritional physiology, we do not want to do without the offer "once a week fish" in our refectories. At the same time, we are committed to ensuring that our fish products are caught in a sustainable and fair manner and that their origin is traceable. We achieve this by using relevant seals and their contents. We see this as our contribution to counteracting overfishing and protecting the marine habitat.

Iodized salt

Iodine is a vital substance for human beings. It is mainly responsible for the formation of the thyroid hormones thyroxine and triiodthyronine. To this day, the supply of iodine in Germany remains insufficient. For this reason all of our foods are salted with iodized salt.