CHICAGO, July 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Canadian college students are increasingly heading off campus to dine, and now rely on a wider variety of foodservice locations to satisfy their food and beverage needs. Just a fifth of today's students (21 percent) purchase a university meal plan--a significant drop from the 30 percent who reported the same in 2011. Additionally, Technomic's latest report on the college and university segment shows that 58 percent of students today purchase food and beverage from off-campus foodservice venues at least once a week, compared to 51 percent in 2011.
"To fuel growth of campus foodservice, college and university dining operators will want to consistently focus on improvements to overall value, menu variety and atmosphere at on-campus dining locations," says Darren Tristano, Executive Vice President of Technomic, Inc. "Menu variety in particular is key to boosting student patronage. Our year-over-year data indicates that there's an increased demand for unique items, ethnic offerings and customization opportunities on college and university foodservice menus. Dining programs should work to address these preferences in order to keep valuable foodservice dollars on campus."
[View larger INFOGRAPHIC: Spotlight on Canadian College and University Foodservice]
To help foodservice executives understand the latest consumer behaviours, preferences and attitudes of college and university students, Technomic has released a comprehensive update of its Canadian College & University Consumer Trend Report. Key findings include:
- Just 28 percent of students overall say they are satisfied with their school's dining program.
- Forty-three percent of students surveyed--and 62 percent of students enrolled in a meal plan -- wish their school had more retail locations where they could shop using their meal plan.
- Menu variety and uniqueness are important to students: six out of 10 students (61 percent) enjoy trying new types of foods and flavours.
- Roughly two-fifths of students place high importance on the ability to substitute (44 percent) or add (40 percent) ingredients themselves.