Recent research carried out by TUCO on student’s eating and drinking habits at a host of universities across the UK, has revealed there are two types of student shoppers: the convenience conscious and the diet conscious. But, with nearly half of students claiming they consider the fat content of foods before purchasing, is the diet conscious student taking over?
Although my student days are behind me, I can still (fondly, if not a little hazily) remember them and I’m pretty sure I was, or at least tried to be, a mix of both – whilst I would make a conscious effort to read the labels of products (my diet conscious student side), I would always end up with the convenient option (my convenience driven, penny pinching side) overflowing in my trolley!
Money (or lack of it) was a big factor to my food decisions, and still is for many students. Recent research with 1,501 students, identified that cost is a huge factor when eating out or deciding where to buy the weekly (or daily for some) food shop.
Students today are certainly more health conscious than ever before, demanding more variety from the food offerings available to them. This is fantastic, especially as we are constantly being reminded that we need to look after our health, but it doesn’t come without its challenges for food companies – most notably that students are still not the wealthiest of consumers.
As well as cost, 17% of students also said that the opening times of outlets are poor, with 53% saying they would like to see outlets open later. Elizabeth Crawford, TUCO Board member commented;
“The outcomes from the TUCO research underline the challenges of the high price sensitive market in which university caterers are operating, as well as the highly varied choices that students are making each day. One of the most striking aspects of the research is about location and opening times and those colleagues who have responded with mobile food offers on campus have started to address this.”
We all know that students are not routine led, that lectures are random in their scheduling and that the majority are night owls (me included back in the day), so being able to access food (no matter what the time), which is either healthy, convenient or a mix of both, is a challenge that the food industry will continue to face. The good news is it appears to be on the right tracks!
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