Shake Smart, a new health food vendor replacing Red Mango, will soon greet Binghamton University students entering the Marketplace.
Scheduled to open for move-in day in August, Shake Smart plans to sell açai bowls, protein shakes, coffee and tea beverages, smoothies and several snacks. Cofounded by Kevin Gelfand and Martin Reiman when they were attending San Diego State University — the company emphasizes “healthy convenience” and high-quality ingredients. Shake Smart’s 40 existing locations are exclusively on college campuses.
The company’s website lists a founding vision of accessible healthy eating and a specific focus on protein — called a “perfect meal replacement,” which increases focus, boosts metabolism and suppresses appetite. Gelfand, who serves as Shake Smart’s president, described protein shakes as convenient options offering the same nutritional content as a traditional meal. He expanded on the company’s vision.
“Shake Smart was built by students, for students,” Gelfand wrote in an email. “Healthy, affordable, delicious and built for that [fast-paced] college on-the-go lifestyle [are] some of our principles. Sometimes eating healthy can be difficult, expensive or not taste good, [but] we continue to break those barriers.”
The change was spearheaded by BU Dining Services (BUDS) in partnership with the Student Culinary Council (SCC), a group that advocates for “students’ dining voices.” Alana McKeon, the president of the SCC and a senior majoring in environmental science, said that BUDS organized a presentation from Shake Smart representatives, the first step in the process.
“Sodexo [and] BUDS expressed to us that Red Mango was declining in popularity,” McKeon wrote in an email. “We felt that the Shake Smart menu was unique and refreshing as it offered several new smoothies and most importantly, acai bowls, which are well-liked among students and have been requested several times as a new food option on campus.”
McKeon praised the company for its alignment with larger SCC goals of health, accessibility and sustainability. Shake Smart’s sustainability efforts extend to biodegradable, plant-made spoons, containers and straws, as well as cups and bowls made from recycled materials.
Red Mango, a founding restaurant in the Marketplace when it opened in 2014, (6) also maintained some of its lower prices. Gelfand said that the two menus were incomparable because of Red Mango’s focus on dessert and “frozen yogurt and smoothies with additives in them.” He added that protein shakes would range from $6.45 to $7.45, açai bowls would come out to $8.75 and snacks would cost between $3.50 to $5.95.
Projecting a positive reception for the change, McKeon mentioned how Shake Smart’s technology, including self-serve kiosks, will allow for a quicker and smoother ordering process.
“Not only does the menu include new, natural and healthier options, but the redesign of the space is going to impress everyone,” McKeon wrote. “The scooped açai bowls are so delicious, and I think both the scooped and blended açai bowls are going to be really popular. Shake Smart has a lot to offer, and I’m very excited to see how students respond to these upgrades and changes!“