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Poll finds 60% will compromise on their own food shopping to help keep students above the breadline.

The rising cost of living affects 1.9m students each year.

New research from online retailer ApprovedFood.co.uk has revealed that 90% of students heading to University this September will be reliant on financial support from their parents to make ends meet, with the average parent contributing around £200 per term to help stock the kitchen cupboard with bare essentials. 

The findings, which were released by the discount online retailer just days before the start of the new academic year, indicates that as many as 1.9m students returning to higher education, or starting university for the first time, will need additional support to make ends meet.

And whilst some parents plan on coughing up as much as £1k per term to contribute to their offspring’s food bill, a staggering 60% say they will have to make sacrifices on their own weekly shop in order to help out.

Furthermore, a whopping 82% said they would look to help out more often if groceries were less expensive.

According to the National Union of Students, fees in the UK are up to £9k and the annual living costs including rent, insurance, travel, course materials and food totals £12,160 a year. But with a typical maintenance loan only covering up to £5,555 of that sum thousands face a shortfall of £6605 per year. The latest UCAS stats also reveal that one in seven students work full time while they study.

Approved Food founder Dan Cluderay, said: “We’re all used to hearing about the burden of costs associated with returning to school, but the increased cost of basic living is such that now parents are even starting to feel the heat when their offspring head off to university.”

The survey asked a total of 182 parents of students whether they would help to pay for their son or daughter’s food bill during the first term, how much they were likely to contribute and whether it would impact their own shopping budget.

40% of respondents said they would help out once or twice, whilst more than half (53%) said they would do so on a regular basis. The average budget assigned was £204.74, and 60% said that by putting that money aside they would need to compromise on their own shopping budget.

It went on to ask participants if they would help out further if the cost of an average shop was less expensive, with less than 20% saying they would not.

Dan said: “At the end of the day £200 may not sound particularly excessive to some, but to many that’s a pretty hefty sum, and no doubt in addition to helping out with other essentials such as bed linen, crockery and books.”

Approved Food, founded in 2008, is the largest online-only retailer of short-dated and residual stock food and drink – saving shoppers up to 70% on their average basket.

Approved Food customer Kim Dewdney said: “Both my son and daughter are heading off to uni this year. One is going for the first time, and the other is returning for a masters.

“The cost of living is high and so it can be incredibly tough for young people trying to make ends meet on their own for the first time, so I am one of those parents that help out wherever I can.

“By shopping with discount retailers and hunting around for bargains I aim to stock up with the basics and treats to keep them going for a good few weeks/months and then when I drop them off at their accommodation, I buy the fresh expensive stuff such as meat and fish which goes into the freezer.  

“Only thing they need to buy for quite a while is then the fresh fruit and veg, meat, yoghurt and cheese.  This way they seem to eat reasonably well and have enough money left for the occasional pizza.”

  • Date published: 14th September 2016