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

Funny how we give you nine grand and in return, you give us LIES


Lancaster University is charging self-isolating on-campus students £17.95 per person per day, for a food delivery system that includes three meals.

In an email sent to self-isolating students on Lancaster University campus, the uni are seen to offer a “daily package of three meals with a cold breakfast, cold lunch and an evening meal (to be heated by yourself).” This comes after Lancaster’s student Councillors called for online-only learning and expressed their concerns that student welfare is “disregarded”.

The meal boxes are available to on-campus students only. Delivery times are between 07:00 and 09:00 am and have been available to order since September 14th. This is an excerpt of the menu provided for the food boxes:

We added the contents of the first food box into an ASDA online food shop, and the total for all of the items for Monday 28th September came to £13.13 – this was because you can’t order one portion of the items, so for example you have to order a full loaf of bread, a full pack of chicken, etc. However, when we broke down the basket into portion sizes, the 28th September’s menu worked out at £2.70 per person for that day. Adding a nominal £3 delivery charge for orders under £40 means that the cost of this spread out over four days equated to around £4.

Using these calculations, it seems that Lancaster University is running these food boxes at a large profit, and if The Tab Lancaster were to use the above grocery basket to construct our own food boxes, and sell them for £17.95 per day, then we would be making a profit of around £60 per person, if they ordered four days’ worth of food boxes.

One first year student said: “I feel completely used, it’s hard enough being worried about getting COVID, let alone having to pay £17.95 a day to get three meals. It’s really hard to get food deliveries too. The whole thing is evidently a rip off but it would have helped if their meal plans were actually affordable.”

Since initially providing The Tab Lancaster with comment on this issue, Lancaster University provided us with the following updated statement: “We recognise self-isolating can be a difficult and stressful time for our students. To make life a little easier we have provided an opt-in meal delivery service for any self-isolating students wishing to have fresh food prepared and cooked for them and delivered to their door.

“We are charging less than we would for our normal dining-in restaurant and café offer, despite additional costs of delivery and disposable containers.

“Students are not obliged to use this service and still have access to their own kitchens, alternative shopping and takeout food delivery services. The University has also provided students with information about suitable alternative sources of food including supermarket delivery and other local commercial outlets.

“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.

“Students choosing this service can have full confidence that they are eating food that has been prepared from locally sourced products – where possible – and all allergens and food intolerances are catered for. The meals are delivered to the student’s accommodation and social distancing procedures are carefully observed.”

ASDA’s grocery delivery service can be found here.

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