The plethora of alternative food labels emerging in the marketplace reflects consumer interest in informed and sustainable purchasing. However, consumers’ preferences vary with respect to the sustainability metrics represented by labeling programs. The goal of this project was to characterize public university students’ perceptions of product parameters commonly represented by food labels for produce (e.g., cost, taste, certified organic, locally grown). A consumer survey (n = 338) was conducted at two university dining halls, located in close proximity to major residence hall communities which house approximately 2600 students. Culinary, health and cost attributes (taste, nutritional value, price and appearance) were ranked as more influential in determining purchasing decisions than sustainability attributes related to production and sourcing. While sustainability values were not as influential in driving purchasing behaviors as compared with product attributes, they were important to approximately 50% of the survey respondents. By identifying the sustainability values of students and their willingness to pay more for specific types of sustainable food, results from this study can inform efforts to align priorities of campus dining services with the values of their student patrons, as well as identify educational opportunities around agriculture and food production.