Lancaster University’s Lacklustre Approach to Healthy Eating

[Image Credit: Amy Selleck]

The Lancaster University’s campus is home to 8 takeaway joints; a vast array of greasy delicacies ranging from Chinese, burgers, pizzas and subs. Your 4am post night-out cravings are easily satisfied with the extensive choice on offer, but considering campus is an institution for learning, there isn’t much variety when it comes to brain food.

One afternoon on campus, after trying to satisfy a fruit craving to no avail, I realised the distinct lack of quick, easy and cheap healthy options available to students. After looking in W H Smith, the LUSU shop and Spar (the three closest to the library and the learning zone), none of them had any kind of convenient and healthy snack in amongst their sandwiches, crisps and chocolate bars.

Though Spar and The Venue have salad bars and LUSU do sell some salad pots, all the feedback I have received about these options is nowhere near positive. One student commented “Venue’s fine with the deli options…but it’s drenched in olive oil so it’s not really that healthy at all,” another said  “there are a few healthy options, but they seem to be either insanely expensive or  ‘in-edibly’ rank.”  In reference to LUSU’s salad pots one student commented “LUSU shop does have salads which you can just grab off the shelf (not that they are any good).” Additionally, I passed The Venue at 2pm on Friday and the salad bar was completely empty, it appears that this “healthy” option is not available for anyone hoping to grab a late lunch.

Not only are the healthy options available sub-standard in quality but the price difference is also astonishing. For example, a student could purchase 4 of Greggs’ sausage rolls for £1, yet if they wanted to buy a salad box from Spar it would set them back £2.89. If a student bought “Naked Juice” drink from LUSU, which is purely fruit, veg and anti-oxidants, it costs a whopping £2.35 for 450ml, whereas last week’s Purple card offer was a coffee and an unhealthy muffin for £1.

For students living off a campus with not a lot of time in between lectures there are few healthy quick options on offer, especially compared to those at the fast food establishments. Take for example Subway, it can take minutes to prepare and it is also cheaper if you get a cookie or a packet of crisps with your order, hardly promoting the concept of healthy eating. After asking students at Birmingham, Nottingham and Manchester Universities about the food on offer at their campuses it seems like this is a familiar scenario across many UK Uni’s, with various fast food joints and little in the way of healthy options.

Even the Wednesday market put on in Alexandra Square with independent sellers doesn’t offer much more in the way of healthy options, with sometimes up to 3 cake stalls at a time. One healthy alternative I have seen at the market is the Soup Dragon stall; however they are not allowed to sell their soup hot, which seems totally absurd meaning this is not an option for students to buy for lunch.

I asked the LUSU president Joel Pullan for a comment on this issue to which he replied:

ImageThis seems like a promising response. If enough students demanded more variety, lower prices on healthy food and more nourishing alternatives to the 8 takeaways on campus, LUSU and the University may be more inclined to make a change.

By Lizzie Roberts

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6 thoughts on “Lancaster University’s Lacklustre Approach to Healthy Eating

  1. Agree with this completely. I tend to buy lunch each day on campus so find myself looking for a decent salad each day. I’ve recently found myself going for either a baguette or salad box from the counter at the back of Spar. As you mentioned, it isn’t cheap or particularly extensive, but it’s the best I can find. The ready-made ones in Spar are drenched in coleslaw and mayonnaise, whilst the ones from Greggs and LUSU are far too expensive. It’s a shame really.

  2. Great article! It’s about time that uni should start giving healthy options rather than the junk food it is already serving. We wouldn’t like england to become as america, wouldn’t we?

  3. Juicafe, are hoping to come up to campus with a Soup n Smoothie van next term… everything is fresh & healthy!! Time to push the uni into allowing healthier food onto campus!!

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