Healthy students shun caff delights

May 9, 2003

The campus cafeteria's days could be numbered, according to a survey out this week. It reveals that health-conscious students now require continental-style bars and coffee shops, as popularised by the hit US TV show Friends .

Students' use of campus cafeterias has declined from an average of five times a week four years ago to just three times a week according to the survey in the Scolarest Eating on Campus Report 2003 , which suggests a significant shift in tastes.

The report finds that students spend an average £3.88 a day on campus fare, with first-years forking out the most and postgraduates the least.

More than two-thirds of students expressed a preference for sandwiches rather than meat and two veg. The survey found that carbonated drinks, tea, coffee and bottled water were the top thirst quenchers.

Only 4 per cent of students claimed to drink beer during the day, with wine and other alcoholic drinks receiving no rating at all.

While more than half the 1,000 students surveyed said that campus food was "very good", 38 per cent claimed that it was too expensive.

This was particularly the case in Scotland and Northern Ireland, where nearly one in three students said they budgeted no more than £2 a day for eating at college. The Scots want their institutions to provide cheaper food and larger portions, the report reveals.

A quarter of students nationally said that they could not find food they liked to eat on campus, and more than a third of students in London, the South and Southwest complained that campus food was bland.

"Student tastes are more sophisticated than ever before," says Ian King, National Union of Students chief executive, in the foreword to the report.

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