More than half of UK students (60 per cent) expect vegan or vegetarian food to be available at their university catering or retail outlets, and 49 per cent expect free-from foods, according to Sodexo’s International University Lifestyle Survey. The report provides a unique insight into the lives and lifestyles of students across the world, polling over 4,000 students in six markets (the US, China, India, Spain and Italy, as well as the UK).
Almost 60 per cent of UK students say they try to eat healthily – more than the global average – and one in five (20%) believes it is essential to eat healthily. However this figure has been falling steadily since 2008 when 67% of UK students made this claim. Nearly half of UK students (46 per cent) expect Fairtrade or ethically-certified produce to be available at their university and 30 per cent said they would be happy to pay more for these items.
Sixty per cent of UK students think it is important for their university to be mindful of food waste, reducing it where possible – substantially behind India and China where 87 per cent and 82 per cent of students respectively think this is important.
Due to the increasing cost of living and rising university fees, the survey reveals students are looking for ways to save money in their day-to-day lives, and often their social lives are the first thing to suffer. Sixty per cent of students said they had not gone out with friends to save money and 31 per cent had skipped a meal.
That said, eating out is still an important part of student life. Sixty six per cent of UK students eat out with friends at least once a week and 60 per cent per cent go to a café on a weekly basis. The frequency with which students use their student union bar was quite different for students in different countries. When it comes to lunch time, in a typical week, almost two thirds of UK students (65 per cent) make their own lunch and eat it in their student accommodation. Almost half (46 per cent) eat a packed lunch off campus, with an equal percentage (46 per cent) eating a lunch purchased on campus.