High street food and drink costs rise by 48%

Research by The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) sheds light on the ongoing campus vs high street price divide

Findings from the largest ever benchmarking study, which was conducted in partnership with Litmus, show on average the cost of food and drink on the high street has increased over the past year, while prices have decreased for comparable products at university campuses. The most noticeable difference is in high street shops, where prices have risen by a staggering 48.8% compared to a drop of -4.1% at university shops.

Another big area of disparity is cafés, where prices at high street outlets are up by an average 17.6% compared to 7% on campuses. Hot beverages in particular are consistently more expensive from the high street, with a regular cappuccino costing £2.20 compared to under £2 at universities. It’s a similar situation for bottled water, which can be purchased for under a pound at universities but for an average of £1.59 on the high street.

For our members, benchmarking against the high street – both in terms of local pricing and national food trends – is essential to ensure their offer remains attractive to students and encourages them to stay on-site

The research also highlights a north / south price divide at universities with Southerners subject to significantly higher bills for items such as a glass of house white wine or pre-boxed salads, while Northerners are being asked to pay more for a bacon roll or energy drink.

Commenting on the results, Mike Haslin, CEO of TUCO, said: “For our members, benchmarking against the high street – both in terms of local pricing and national food trends – is essential to ensure their offer remains attractive to students and encourages them to stay on-site.

“By conducting our annual research, we are able to keep our members informed of price movements between universities and the high street and support university caterers in providing true value to their students. Through TUCO’s market-leading procurement frameworks, universities of all sizes are able to offer reduced prices to their students and have the edge over the high street in the ongoing price war.”

To download the TUCO Food & Drink Benchmarking Research, visit: www.tuco.ac.uk/images/zoo/uploads/documents/TUCO_Selling_Price_Results_Report_2016-17_v6.pdf

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