This report follows the YouGov SixthSense University Catering 2011 report, and examines the eating habits of students – a group traditionally viewed as eating badly, relegating food choices in priority as they cope with the demands of study (and, for many, fending for themselves for the first time). It looks at students’ eating habits and attitudes towards food, considering both weekdays and weekend both on- and off-campus. In addition it looks at where and what students eat and, as in the 2011 edition, considers uptake of food from venues on site at universities/colleges and compares this to other venues.

Unsurprisingly the majority of students are on-campus, or use university buildings, during the week in term time. A small minority – around one in 10 – use university facilities at the weekend. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays see the majority of students on-campus with a drop on Wednesdays and Fridays from just over three-quarters to just over two-thirds.

The survey differentiated between students studying for their first degree by year, part-time students and full-time and part-time postgraduate students allowing analysis of how behaviours might change between more experienced students and those away from home and (possibly) looking after themselves for the first time.

Over 35 questions were asked in total, covering the following topics

  • Student living arrangements
  • facilities provided by the college /university
  • Student cooking abilities
  • Attitudes to foods
  • Meal habits
  • Purchase considerations
  • Meals during the academic week vs the weekend

Methodology

For this report, YouGov SixthSense commissioned a survey among its online panel, drawing on a sample of 1,004 students aged 18+. To qualify for inclusion in the survey panellists had to be students aged 18 or above in further education, either full time or part time.

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