Price remains the number one factor for cash-strapped students when it comes to making food choices, according to research carried out by Sodexo.
The caterer and facilities management provider found that 70% of students polled for its bi-annual Sodexo University Lifestyle Survey consider price above all else when buying food from a campus canteen or café.
An overwhelming majority (94%) said that they spend £5 or less, and the number concerned with quality dropped to 55% compared to 65% in 2010.
Socialising, once a staple of university life, has fallen down the agenda for students, who now claim to do so for less than two hours a day. Only 12% said they socialised for more than five hours a day compared to 33% in 2006.
Peter Taylor, head of universities at Sodexo, said: "Students continue to spend less on socialising and are eating less healthily as a result of financial pressures. These trends are likely to increase when students begin paying higher fees."
The survey found that while 81% of students said they try to eat healthily, over half have changed their eating habits in order to make their money go further. Of these, 62% are eating less healthily as a result.
Rather than opt for frozen pizzas and late night trips to the kebab shop, the research found that 75% prepare and cook a meal from scratch at least once a week, with pasta dishes and curries being the favourites.
Taylor continued: "Healthy options need not be more expensive and we are working to ensure that we offer healthy, nutritious food which is good value for money."
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
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