Why students are dissatisfied with university meal plans

Why are Students Dissatisfied with University Meal Plans?

September 10, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced universities to change how meal plans are provided to students. Students are finding new meal plans challenging to swallow.

University dining halls and meal halls serve as shared places wherein university students gather to relax, laugh, and talk about the plans and classes for the week ahead. However, the past year has made the on-campus dining spaces look different altogether because COVID-19 restrictions have limited the number of diners in a shared room.

As per a recent college survey, most universities will be offering only a single meal plan at higher costs –expected to be paid by students in university residences.

Dissatisfaction Amongst Students Regarding University Meal Plans

A majority of students surveyed in a recent study revealed that they were not satisfied with the university meal plans. While first-year students demonstrated some dissatisfaction, 69% of later-year students were dissatisfied.

Some of the common reasons for the dissatisfaction, as stated by students, included:

Mandated Dining Plans

Amidst the pandemic, most colleges mandated all students living on campus to have a strict meal plan due to COVID-19 restrictions. As the colleges were reverting to new quarantine rules due to the increasing outbreak of the virus on campuses, students are voicing concerns over the overall lack of flexibility regarding dedicated meal plans of the university campuses.

Leftover Meal Swipes

Most students on dedicated university dining services or plans – especially transfer and first-year students who are mandated to join a proper meal plan, have found that they are given leftover meal swipes at the semester’s end.

Dissatisfaction with the Meal Plan Costs

Some students also reported being discouraged from using college-centric meal plans due to cost and other factors. They say that dining halls remain unhealthy, and they use more Dining Dollars compared to meals.

Students at leading colleges revealed that the total cost of meal plans considers several charges for the entire year. These include the dining hall furniture, labor, overall maintenance, and special events like the Guest Chef nights and exclusive brunches.

Dining Hall Hours

Another major complaint regarding meal plans is the hour of the dining halls. Students find that the dining halls are not usually open when they want to eat. This is why most students post the first year do not opt for buying a dedicated college meal plan.







University Dining Blog

How much does an average college student spend on food?

September 06, 2021

It's been a while since we all have met !! Let's do a deep dive into this.

In these blogs, we are not selling our product sVang but to educate on the current student dining habits, etc.

How much does an average college student spend on food?

College comes as a transitional phase in several aspects. When perceived financially, this phase is slightly strange -making college student spending stats quite interesting. Many students end up with significant debts as well. Out of all the expenses, money spent on food is an integral component of a student’s financial management. Let us understand their food-spending statistics in detail.

Analyzing a College Student’s Expenditure on Food

It cannot be easy to analyze the amount a college student spends on food throughout the journey because colleges, lifestyles, different meal plans, and preferences tend to vary significantly.

The best part is that you can effectively budget your overall spending on food during college. Along with dedicated college meal plans, students can also consider eating out of campus or spending money on groceries. Let us discuss the same in detail.

Considering Additional Food Budget

Do you want to discontinue the college meal plan? Do you wish to subsidize your college meal plan with an additional food budget? Then, you need to think about what allowance you require every month for the given type of expenditure. It can turn out to be more dynamic than a dedicated meal plan.

As per a study report, a college-aged individual will go forward with spending around $163 to $367 every month on additional food costs. When you are considering a supplemental food budget when you are in college, here are some pointers to keep in mind:

  • Look Out for Coupons: Some many money-saving tricks and applications can help you come across low-cost alternatives in your area. Therefore, you should keep searching for local deals, coupons, or sales for your favorite meal plans.
  • Consider Eat-out Expenses: Another option to manage your budget on food during college is to ensure that eat-out or social expenses are a part of your college budget.
  • Subscribe for a Dedicated Meal Plan: With the advancement of technology -especially in the face of the pandemic, dedicated meal plans for college students have come up. You can easily search for them online. With such meal plans, you can customize your meals throughout the day at cost-effective prices.

Considering College Meal Plans

As per a study report, it is estimated that the overall spending for food on college meal plans is around $4500 for approximately eight months of subscription. The given value can vary significantly depending on the given university. In most cases, for 1–2 years, college students must select the college meal plan. As such, it becomes a fixed budget expense as far as college expenses are concerned.


There are several factors to consider while deciding on the food budget as a college student. As you plan, it will allow you to make the most of your money. With little research & organization, you can eat well and save money at the same time.

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Healthy Eating Blog

Top healthy eating tips for busy college students

Aug 09, 2021

College is an exciting place to be. However, it is also associated with tight schedules with so much going on around. When you are in college, it also implies that you should ensure specific alterations in your lifestyle.

An average college student is pressed chiefly for time. With so much stress going on, students primarily develop the habit of eating on the go. It becomes easier to adopt poor eating habits like skipping meals or indulging in binge eating.

As a university student, prioritizing your diet is the secret to healthy living. If you are always on the go, here are some eating habits that you can adopt:

Carrying Packed Lunch

Lunch break during college is a time to relax and have a hearty meal. If you live away from home, you can come across several canteens or restaurants offering access to specialized meal kits for your lunch. The best part about these meal kits is that they are easily customizable as per individual dietary requirements.

Most restaurants have also come up with the concept of healthy meal boxes featuring the balanced proportions of everything “healthy & nutritious.” These meal boxes are tailor-made for college students by keeping in mind their dietary specifications. You can look for such services in your area.

Being Creative in Your Meals

Do you skip meals because you are bored of them? If you prefer ordering your food (quite common in college life), you can try ordering various combinations every time. Do not order the same type of meal every day, even if it is your favorite cuisine. Try experimenting with new recipes and new ingredients.

Never Skip Breakfast

As a student, your entire day depends on how you start your morning. As you go without breakfast, it can make you less energetic throughout the day. Therefore, you should spare a few minutes every day in the morning to have a nutritious breakfast.

The type of food you have in the morning will determine how hungry you will feel throughout the day. Experts emphasize that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Therefore, if you are eating out, you choose a dedicated meal plan that allows you to be alert and active across the entire day.

Be Conscious of Your Water Intake

However busy your college schedule might be, make sure you remain hydrated all the time. Your body requires ample water for all organs to function correctly. As per an estimate, the human body needs around 3–4 liters of water every day.

If your lifestyle needs more training or you are too active, you need to consume water as a college student. Carry a reusable water bottle everywhere you go.


When you have healthy meals as a college student, it ensures that you are healthy throughout. When you live in a dorm room, you might not have easy access to cooked food on your own. You can reach out to the college cafeteria or a local restaurant to access delicious and healthy meals every day.

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sVang App

College Students Food Trends 2021

August 03, 2021

Colleges and universities are gearing up for the upcoming academic year. Foodservice in colleges is an important aspect requiring crucial decision making. Food trends continue evolving. The ever-changing specifications for college dining are impacted by the ongoing pandemic.

To respond to the upcoming challenges and changes, here are some college food trends for 2021, this was research conducted on the top 100 universities in 2020.

Takeout & Delivery

Takeout and delivery concepts are growing in restaurants across the country. It is a concept that a number of colleges & universities are exploring for on-campus restaurants or dining spaces. As a college restaurant provider, if you wish to seamlessly transition to smooth delivery, here are some points to consider:

  • New Software: Add or update proper POS software to the respective front-of-house operations. This will allow you to keep track of the inventory and orders.
  • Space: Is the kitchen of the college dining hall spacious enough for proper preparation and packaging? Are you able to deliver access to space for takeout students and delivery drivers to pick up your orders? It is crucial to redesign the dining hall for keeping both the staff as well as dine-in customers safe.
  • In-house Vs. Third-party Delivery: Consider the merits and demerits of both. In-house delivery reduces third-party commission fees. However, you are required to reimburse the delivery drivers for gas along with hourly wages.
  • Proper Packaging: You should consider investing in abundant containers and bags. Look for packaging that is capable of ventilating and insulating food items for a longer period.

If you decide to incorporate delivery in your college food scenario, you should offer the same to some surrounding community along with staff and students.

Dedicated Meal Kits

During the COVID-19 pandemic, most restaurants out there opt for meal kits for driving more sales and serving the favorite dishes of the clients. This serves to be a potential alternative for campus dining as well. Dedicated meal kits are available in a wide range of options -from deli sandwich kits to heat & eat frozen dinners to gourmet ingredient packages.

The pre-packed options are great for college students who find time for just instant microwaving or preparing a meal from the dorm rooms. A highly complex and healthy kit featuring multiple ingredients is ideal for students searching for a delicious, yet affordable meal.

Grab & Go Markets

The given concept is not too new for college students. On-campus marketplaces and convenience stores have been in trend for the past several years. The given trend offers staff as well as students an easier way of grabbing food as well as beverages on the go. However, due to the rise of the pandemic, the given markets are becoming increasingly prevalent in comparison to conventional common eating areas and dining halls.

A grab-and-go market can typically include much more than mere packaged foods and beverages. Most of them have evolved over years to come up with fresher and healthier options.


With the ever-changing face of the restaurant industry across the globe due to the pandemic, it is high time that college students adopt the latest food trends.

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