University on-campus dining has great room for growth according to our new research
Exclusive new research conducted by the NUS on behalf of Premier Foods has revealed that, despite record numbers of students attending university, dining on campus is not currently the top option when looking for meals. Less than half of students [42%] purchase food from on-campus food outlets, and whilst nearly two thirds of students [60%] purchase food to go once a week or more, the vast majority of students [82%] are turning to food-to-go outlets on the high street.
As a result, we will be unveiling our latest solutions brochure for university chefs and catering managers at the end of July with the aim of helping them create more targeted menu offers across food outlets on campus that will appeal to students’ changing tastes. The brochure highlights how students’ food preferences change as they move through their university years, as well as containing recipes, top tips and advice to help caterers maximise sales on campus.
When it comes to choosing their preferred tastes and cuisines, nearly a quarter of first year students selected traditional British as their preferred type of cuisine [22%], whilst almost a third of second year students highlighted comfort food as their preferred food choice. Postgraduate masters students are the more likely than most other year groups to look out for health-conscious options, while nearly half of fourth year students described their tastes as adventurous.
As expected, students are less likely to have the time to cook these recipes from scratch, given the pressures of university life, opening the door to great on-campus food solutions. The university solutions guide therefore provides recipes reflecting the latest cuisine trends, including Japanese and Peruvian dishes, as well as classic comfort food recipes, traditional British options and many other ideas to help drive higher footfall on campus.
Sarah Robb, Channel Marketing Controller at Premier Foods comments: “The research clearly highlights that students want more variety and choice from their university eating establishments. With so many new cuisines and food concepts more readily available on the high street, the new brochure will help caterers tap into the trends that students say they are looking for to help cater to their ever-changing appetites and entice them onto campus.”
Looking across all year groups, Italian food comes out on top as the most popular cuisine, with nearly half of students [49%] wanting to see Italian food more readily available on campus. When deciding where to eat out, cost, quality and value for money come out as the ultimate priorities, with students looking for quality over convenience.
Sarah Robb concludes: “Along with our portfolio of quality, trusted brands, we are dedicated to providing added value to our customers and we are delighted to be bringing the guide, with such a wealth of insights to our university customers. We know that there is a real appetite for insight-driven menu solutions within the foodservice industry, and our new solutions brochure aims to help university chefs and catering managers put insight into action to help drive sales on campus.”
 The number of students attending university is up by 3.1% in the last year alone according to UCAS in its 2015 End of Cycle Report, with a total of 532,300 people entering UK higher education in 2015.
To download the new University Solutions Guide launched at this year’s TUCO show, submit your details in the form below.