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Key insights: Gen Z students’ take on food & drink

Newly-updated for 2024, get exclusive insights and key stats on how students engage with food and beverage brands – including fresh stats from our Student Life Report 2024.

students eating pizza


Students’ thoughts on food & drink 

  • According to our recent poll of 251 students, meat consumption is still more popular than plant-based diets. 63% of students eat meat, with 17% flexing their meat consumption, 12% eating vegetarian diets, and 4% following a plant-based diet. (native, April 2024). 
  • And why are Gen Zs going plant-based? Because of the environment. 57% believe that plant-based products are better for the environment than animal-based ones. (Sodexo, 2024
  • Food is a big part of who we are – and students are no different. 53% said that food, drink and restaurant choices are a big part of their personal identities. (native, March 2024) 
  • And yet food is not always a positive thing for this generation. 61% of Gen Z has felt pressure to eat a certain way to communicate their identity and beliefs (PR Newswire, 2023) 




Students’ feelings on food & drink 

  • Food is a big part of the Freshers experience. 65% of students want to see food, drink and restaurant stalls at Freshers fairs – making it the most popular stall type. (native, March 2024) 
  • The main reason why students order a takeaway? It’s convenient and saves cooking time. (native, April 2024) 
  • By contrast, the most popular reason why students go out to a restaurant is for a treat or to mark a special occasion. (native, April 2024) 
  • Health, of course, underpins it all – with 72% of Gen Zs seeing healthy eating as an integral part of their physical and mental health (Fanbytes).


A young woman shops the grocery isle



Students’ food & drink behaviours 

  • During Freshers week, students fall into roughly two camps: those who embrace cooking from the start and head out to buy groceries (53%) and those who survive the madness by ordering takeaways or hitting up restaurants (48%). There’s a fair few who do both! (native, March 2024) 
  • Food stays top of mind throughout the academic year, too. 84% of students do a weekly grocery shop (8% do this daily). And 40% of students get a takeaway at least once a week (3.15% do so every day!). (Source: native, March 2024) 
  • Despite multiple digital options, students still haven’t hopped on the trend of grocery delivery yet. 79% still get their groceries in-person, with just 2% ordering online. (Source: native, March 2024). 
  • Food is top of the list for students – literally. Both groceries and takeaways/restaurants fall into the top 3 spending categories for students per month, in places #2 and #3 respectively. (native, March 2024). 
  • Students are willing to spend the same amount on takeaways as they do on restaurants – for both, this falls within £11 – £20 per head. (native, April 2024) 



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Join the likes of Burger King, C4 and Urban Eat in meeting students where they are – online and on-campus. Get in touch with us to discuss options today!