Convenience is the strongest driver of on-campus foodservice use, cited by 65 percent of students surveyed, says the new College & University Consumer Trend Report report from the Technomic, Inc., foodservice consulting organization. By contrast, the most cited reasons for eating at an off-campus restaurant were better value (43%) and better variety (38%).
Technomic says it developed the report to help college and university dining programs, off-campus operators and suppliers tap into the student market by providing in-depth analysis of how student attitudes and preferences shape their dining behavior at both on- and off-campus foodservice locations. Among the key findings:
• 39% of students participate in a college or university food plan, including 17% of all students who live off campus.
• On average, 43% of student meals are purchased from on-campus dining facilities (29%) or campus retail locations (14%) while the remaining 57% are purchased at off-campus restaurants or retail stores.
• The majority of students (71%) dine on-campus at least once a week, most frequently in cafeterias and dining halls, with 29% saying they eat in a college foodservice facility at least once a day; 60% patronize off-campus restaurants at least once a week, favoring fast-food and fast-casual restaurants and coffee shops.
• About a quarter of all students are vegetarians or vegans who want meatless options while a fifth say gluten-free and kosher meal choices are very important.
The College & University Consumer Trend Report was developed using data gathered in a May 2009 survey of more than 1,500 full-time U.S. students. In addition to in-depth analysis of student dining preferences, the report profiles innovative onsite university dining programs and identifies menu and positioning trends at leading colleges and universities.
To purchase or learn more about this and other industry reports from Technomic, go to www.foodpubs.com.