These are the most depressing, rip off food boxes unis are selling to isolating students

You’re not kidding anyone by calling it a ‘continental’ pastry

Picture this: you’re one of the thousands of freshers self-isolating in halls. Forbidden from going to the shops, food is a bit of an issue, so your uni offers to feed you. Great, I won’t starve, you think. What an excellent use of my £9,250, now that I won’t be getting access to the the usual on-campus facilities and activities, you think.

Except, not only are they charging for the food package, but when it arrives a bit of quick maths confirms all the items could be purchased for about a tenth of what the uni’s charging.

Across the country, unis are somehow seeing fit to rip off students by charging way over the odds for pretty mediocre food parcels. Here are the culprits:

Sussex – £25 for a box that costs £8.46

International students who had to quarantine upon arrival at Sussex Uni were unlucky in two ways. Firstly, they were Sussex Uni students. Secondly, they had no way to go to the shops, and were presented with the option to buy a £25 “Welcome Box”.

Nothing says “welcome” more than finding out the constituent parts of that box could be purchased for just £8.46 on ASDA.

It included four noodle packs, one porridge pot, two small boxes of cereal, some sugar, 40 tea bags, four cereal bars, two apples, two pears, and custard creams.

Sussex generously threw in not just some plates, but the box itself. The uni said it was fair pricing, as the £25 covers packaging and delivery.

Lancaster – £17.95 a day for meals that cost just £2.70

Self-isolating students at Lancaster were offered a ““daily package of three meals with a cold breakfast, cold lunch and an evening meal (to be heated by yourself).”

Although you could do worse than a pain au chocolate and some fruit juice for breakfast, the boxes cost £17.95 per person per day.

This is an excerpt of the menu:

It doesn’t look shit, we’ll give them that. Malaysian sweet potato curry! Just like being at Spoons. But an ASDA online shop revealed that the menu could be cobbled together for just £2.70 per person per day.

Lancaster Uni said: “The package consists of three meals per day that are prepared daily from fresh ingredients in our own kitchens. We have kept prices as low as we can without compromising on quality.”

Leeds – Emergency food boxes costing £15 and including the most depressing shit ever

The “emergency boxes” Leeds were offering cost £15, but can be assembled for just over a tenner on the Tesco website. Not the biggest rip-off, after packaging and delivery, but the ingredients are just pure sadness.

Brown bread, clementines, instant soup. If this is the £15 solution to an emergency, you’re in pretty deep shit.

UEA – £252 for a two-week food box

UEA’s “catering for two weeks of self-isolation” option cost £252 and only included one hot meal a day.

In fairness, it included continental pastries. And crisps. Okay, what the isolating students were getting was essentially some cereal, a sandwich, and a hot meal every day.

A quick ASDA shop revealed the items came to about £5.

In response to general outrage, UEA knocked the price down from £18 to £12 a day, reducing the overall cost to £168. It also told MailOnline it would refund students who had already paid.

A happy ending.

Exeter – £15 a day food packages

Exeter students isolating in catered halls were claiming to be the proud recipients of…cold leftovers from dinner for breakfast.

One student told Devon Live: ”Food packages are £15 per day and we cannot afford that on our budget.”

The uni says the service is delivered “at cost”.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Leeds uni is offering ’emergency food boxes’, and they’re literally a joke

Self-isolating students charged £17.95 per day for meals that actually cost £2.70

Exclusive: Sussex is charging international freshers £25 for a £8.46 Welcome Box