Students not so ethically minded

Here’s a turn-up for the books: students aren’t drinking and they’re not bothered about buying ethical foods. Perhaps less surprisingly, price trumps all when it comes to their buying habits.

“Only a minority of students said they expected to see ethically-sourced food used in university-run shops, cafés and restaurants, while even fewer said they would pay a premium for these items,” according to the 2016 University Lifestyle Survey.

Carried out by Sodexo, the 2,000-strong poll showed that fewer students expect to see Fairtrade products on sale across campus (39% versus 44% in 2014 and 52% in 2008).

The same number (39%) wanted to see locally-produced food, whilst just 29% felt that the seafood on offer should be sustainable.

These are “surprisingly low levels given the perception of students as socially committed and environmentally-aware”, Sodexo noted.

Other myths were also dispelled. Instead of kebabs and oven chips, three quarters of students try to eat healthily (though 25% still admitted that their diet was poor).

Dispelling the stereotype of students as hard-drinking, 36% of respondents said they don’t drink any alcohol. Instead, the survey points to a “growing café culture” at universities – over half of students (53%) spend up to £20 a week on tea and coffee from university cafés.

Look out for a more detailed analysis of the findings in the April issue of Footprint.

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