University on-campus dining has great room for growth, according to a survey by Premier Foods.
New research conducted by the National Union of Students (NUS) on behalf of food manufacturer Premier Foods found that, despite record numbers of students attending university, dining on-campus is not the favourite for students' meals.
Less than half of students surveyed (42%) purchase food from on-campus food outlets, and while nearly two-thirds (60%) purchase food to go once a week or more, the vast majority (82%) are turning to outlets on the high street.
Nearly a quarter of first-year students selected traditional British as their preferred cuisine (22%), while almost a third of second-year students highlighted comfort food as their preferred choice. Postgraduate masters students were the more likely year group to look out for health-conscious options, while nearly half of fourth-year students described their tastes as adventurous.
Across all year groups, Italian food was the most popular choice, 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.
Premier Foods will be unveiling its 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.
Sarah Robb, channel marketing controller at Premier Foods, said: "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 and entice them onto campus."
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