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Brunel students are calling for more affordable food options on campus

Credit: Lisa Schirinzi

Students at Brunel University are calling for more affordable food and coffee on campus as the rising UK inflation rate hits an all-time high.

Brew 1966, formerly known as Costa Coffee, is still enjoying busy afternoons, despite the criticism, but some students feel forced to pay up when they don’t have time to bring food from home.

“Many people don’t have much of a gap so they’re forced to buy stuff from campus,” said Tala Al-Magharabi (20) of Uxbridge Road. Both she and her friend Rahma Shire (21) try to avoid buying food on campus because of the high prices.

“It’s too expensive,” said Sata Raabi (18) of Kingston Lane, who started her first year at the university this September. “I would rather buy food at the local grocery shops than here.”

The opinions among student on where they’d rather spend their money were unanimous: “If I buy food here it’s just a sandwich or a coffee, but the price for a sandwich is about £4 now,” said James Round (20) of Kingston Lane. “I’d only come back here to buy a coffee now, really.”

Dev Aditya (26), the VP of Student Activities, agrees that there is a general trend among students that the Student Unions should try to get lower prices on campus. “Personally, I

think the cost of living for students have been increasing, the tuition fees are increasing - inflation that is affecting food prices is not helping, and I would like it if students didn’t have to pay this much money.”

The latest ONS statistics show grocery inflation running at 3.1 % in September, and leading supermarkets have warned that the increase in food prices will have a lethal impact for those on a tight budget.

The increase has affected most of the ready-to-eat meals at both Starbucks and Costa Coffee, with the latter having gone through a rebrand from ‘proud to serve Costa’ to Brew 1966 this autumn. If this rebrand is enough to keep ahold of the younger coffee drinkers is, according to Industry Analyst Allegra, unlikely.

“Costa has not done enough to cater to the more demanding tastes of younger shoppers,” said Jeffrey Young, an analyst at Allegra to the Guardian. “Costa and Starbucks have tried to adapt to the shift towards artisan coffee by introducing flat whites, brick walls, and beaten-up sofas - but this is no longer enough.”

A spokesperson for Costa Coffee, Isabella Highett, said: “At Costa our customers are at the heart of everything we do and we constantly innovate to cater to our customer tastes and needs. We are proud to have been the first to bring the flat white and Cortado to the UK market.”

The question remains whether students will continue to give in to the cost of convenience food.

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