Is campus food worth the cost?

[Tom Boon | Contributing Writer]

In November 2015, the SU announced its priority campaign for the academic year, Campus Costs, saying: “Whether it’s paying for rent, getting to campus or grabbing some lunch, we know that the cost of living is a priority issue for students at Hertfordshire. We know that every pound spent on extra course costs and on living in one of the country’s most expensive regions can all add up.” One of the main concerns is that alternative food options are too expensive when they are available.

In a recent survey conducted by UniVerse, a shocking 68 per cent of 59 respondents said that they thought food and drink on campus was too expensive. For example, a vegetarian slice of pizza, a portion of wedges, and large Fanta at the Forum Restaurant costs £4.25.

NEWS Food Article Image of Meal - credit Tom Boon

Survey results also showed that 44 per cent of respondents felt that more vegetarian options should be available on campus, whilst 51 per cent thought that more vegan options were needed on campus.

One student commented:

“There’s so much focus put on halal food, which is great, but very little is done for vegan students. The variety of options for vegetarians is extremely low anyway, but they always contain dairy making them unsuitable for vegans. They can have a plain salad or just chips or something, but this isn’t a balanced meal. Vegetarian options should by default be vegan then it would cater for everyone.”

This was echoed by another student who said: “I think there needs to be more healthy options available, and a wider selection of vegetarian options. I do not think it is fair that I usually get a smaller portion as a vegetarian but pay the same (especially for roast dinners).”

Another student commented: “Vegan options are good but could be better. Some of them are a little too dry. [I’m] not aware of any cooked vegan options either.”

The survey results clearly show that students want more vegetarian food and vegan options. It seems that Food Hertfordshire is keen to promote the vegetarian choices they offer, as demonstrated by a recent Facebook post which read: “Amazing root vegetable and thyme pies being made by chef Wojtec for our veggie option today #dehavilland #theforum #lovearoast #pielicious

NEWS Food Article Facebook Screenshot

Cat Charker, a first-year History student made it clear that he did not think the vegetarian options were varied stating: “I feel there aren’t many vegetarian options on campus. Yes you have the usual assortment such as cheese sandwiches or cups of fruit, but the majority of vegetarian food on campus is just junk food, such as pizza and chips.

“Though places like the restaurant offer some options such as beans on toast, it’s a crapshoot as to whether or not they will be serving good vegetarian options at that time. I feel this could be improved by having a more diverse offering of foods that aren’t just your usual school cafeteria regulars.”

Whilst this is the case, there are also some great deals to be had on food and drink around campus. You can pick up dinner from the Forum Restaurant for just £1.50 after 5.00pm, Monday to Thursday, whilst Cafe Forum offers every seventh coffee for free when you swipe a Food Hertfordshire loyalty card. It is also worth remembering that points can be earned every time you spend money at a Food Hertfordshire venue, meaning that you can accumulate free meals over time. It is also worth following the Food Hertfordshire Facebook page where special offers are posted.

Images: Tom Boon

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