Students will be able to control their portions with the new buffet style at the university, says student union member Marc Gauvin. (Associated Press/Jeff Baughan)

The University of New Brunswick Fredericton campus will be serving students buffet style at the cafeteria this year instead of using meal trays.

Marc Gauvin, vice-president of finance for the student union, says the move away from loading up plates with pre-portioned meals should help cut down on food waste.

"For our campus, we've predicted about between 22,000 and 46,000 pounds of food on an annual basis, which is a substantial amount of food to be saving," he said.

"And in terms of the water, just the water from having to wash the trays, we'll be saving between half a million and three quarters of a million litres of water per year."

The buffet style will also help students control their portions and not overeat, said Gauvin.

"It will require multiple trips for some people, but really what we've noticed from these studies is that people are less likely to grab food that they're going to waste. So they'll be more conscious of the decision to pick food," he said.

The university will monitor food waste and water consumption over the next semester to find out if removing the meal trays has made a difference, said Gauvin.