Self-isolating Lancaster University students offered 'overpriced' meal deliveries at £17.95 per day

7 October 2020, 18:00 | Updated: 7 October 2020, 20:35

Students at Lancaster University were offered a food delivery service
Students at Lancaster University were offered a food delivery service. Picture: Lancaster University / Google Street View

By Megan White

Lancaster University has been criticised by students after those self-isolating were offered “overpriced” food deliveries costing £17.95 per day.

The university is offering a meal box service for students who have to self-isolate for 14 days during the coronavirus pandemic.

It is optional, and students still have access to their own kitchens and food deliveries, but some have said supermarket delivery slots are incredibly hard to find, and students have had no other option but to order from the university.

The £17.95 daily menu includes three meals, but student Bhavreet Dulkul, said the cost is “probably how much you’d spend in a week.”

The 18-year-old, who is studying Politics, International Relations and Management told LBC that “not everyone can afford” the university’s option but that in some cases, they were the only option students could rely on.

A sample of the menu offered through the university food delivery service
A sample of the menu offered through the university food delivery service. Picture: Lancaster University

Ms Dulkul told LBC: “The food boxes are an alternative from the university if you don’t get a delivery slot.

“So if you don’t have any friends who can drop off food for you outside your building, you can only really rely on the university.

“But not everyone can afford £17 a day and delivery slots aren’t always available from different supermarkets.

“It’s overpriced – that’s probably how much you’d spend a week.”

She added: “My friend who’s self-isolating did his own shopping – luckily someone dropped him off for him.

“The other issue is if you’re self-isolating and you need your washing done, so someone comes to collect it, it costs £7, when usually it’s about £2.40 per wash.

“They’ve also just changed the mailing system to a central one where every college goes to the same place and the queues are massive – people are waiting for an hour now just to get a parcel – and it’s stupid, it’s just going to put more people at risk.”

Asked how she felt to be a student during this time, Ms Dulkul said: “It is a bit tough, because most of it is online now, so you’re just in your room most of the time.

“They said we’d have blended learning, but I have one contact hour a week, so I’ve paid £2,000 for accommodation for that – the rest is online. It’s definitely unfair.”

A Lancaster University spokesperson said: “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.

“The price has deliberately been set below 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. Food boxes are available separately to this offer.

“The package consists of three meals per day that are prepared daily by chefs using 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.

“The meal delivery service is an additional provision made available to support students that wish to have their meals provided to them in this way.”