Foodservice and facilities management company Sodexo has partnered with vegan restaurant chain Veggie Grill to offer a plant-based menu at university campuses.

The partnership meets the foodservice firm’s objective to provide access to plant-based meals to its customers.

As part of the deal, Sodexo plans to introduce Veggie Grill menu items at select college and university locations during the academic year 2019-20.

Sodexo provides food service, accomodations and facilities management services to more than 700 universities, colleges and independent schools in the United States.

According to Technomic’s 2017 College & University Consumer Trend Report, 20% of college students follow some form of special diet, ranging from semi-vegetarian to vegan.

“College students are at the forefront of the plant-based movement and they are more mindful about what they eat.”

Veggie Grill CEO Steve Heeley said: “We have strategically opened several of our restaurant locations nearby or on college campuses, including UCLA, UC Berkeley and University of Washington .

“College students are at the forefront of the plant-based movement and they are more mindful about what they eat. We look forward to partnering with Sodexo to serve our plant-based food to a wider audience of university students and faculty.”

Established in 2006, Veggie Grill currently operates 32 locations in California, Oregon, Washington and Illinois.

The restaurant chain plans to expand its presence through new locations in East Coast markets, including New York City this year.

Sodexo external partnerships senior director Don Wood said: “Our college customers have asked for more plant-based options. Veggie Grill is the perfect partner to give them what they want. We continually look for ways to provide innovative dining experiences for our college customers.”

Last year, the foodservice company launched new plant-based menus with more than 200 recipes through its partnership with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the World Resource Institute-Better Buying Lab (WRI).