Students protest at high food prices in canteen

Students protest at high food prices in canteen

Students protest at high food prices in canteen

First published in News Times Series: Photograph of the Author by

Students are protesting against the high food prices in their cafeteria, which they say are adding to student poverty.

The student union at Middlesex University has launched a "food revolution" to campaign for lower prices, and more variety, in their bar and canteen.

The student union handed out free sandwiches at lunchtime today and yesterday, to encourage students not to use the canteen.

They hope this boycott will force the caterers to think again about the prices they charge.

Union president, Manoj Iyer, 30, claims that the external company which provides their catering compares its prices to those at Marks and Spencer, not to other student outlets.

He says that the canteen charges 99p for a can of Coke, while many other shops charge 60p.

Mr Iyer, who is in his second year as president, also argues that the canteen charges up to £7 for a meal of chicken and chips with salad and a drink.

This, he argues, is unaffordable for most students.

The president said: “Most students cannot afford to eat on campus. I have even heard some of the staff say that they cannot afford it.

“Students are already being hit hard by the increase in fees and this will just add to their poverty.

“They just cannot afford the prices that the canteen is charging.”

As a result, the union has launched a petition calling for prices to be reduced and has so far received more than 400 signatures.

It is also encouraging students to boycott the canteen by bringing their own lunches.

Mahdi Abuka, 20, a television production student, said: “The prices are really high in the canteen. We are students, so we don’t have that much money to spend.

“I go and buy food elsewhere, because it is too expensive on campus.

“I only buy food here when I have to.”

Pro Vice-Chancellor Warren Forsyth, from Middlesex University's estates and facilities management service, said: "We meet with the Students Union regularly and acted on recent feedback by introducing a greater choice of offers and a new lower price range of sandwiches starting at £1.

“This was implemented immediately after calls for cheaper options.

"We're aware that the cost of food is important to students, so regularly compare prices at our campus bars and catering facilities with other London universities and similar local establishments to ensure prices are competitive and fair.

"Student satisfaction is a core priority and we continue to keep the dialogue open with our students, including acting on feedback from a university-wide survey into our catering, which launched in March and comes to a close at the end of April."

Comments (24)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

6:25pm Fri 20 Apr 12

Don't Call Me Dave says...

There are plenty of cheaper food establishments within easy walking distance of the campus which students can use, including Hendon Library. Or how about this for a radical idea? Make a packed lunch! Frankly, students should be more concerned as to the quality of their education than making a fuss about the cafeteria costs.
There are plenty of cheaper food establishments within easy walking distance of the campus which students can use, including Hendon Library. Or how about this for a radical idea? Make a packed lunch! Frankly, students should be more concerned as to the quality of their education than making a fuss about the cafeteria costs. Don't Call Me Dave
  • Score: -1

2:53pm Sat 21 Apr 12

Something Wrong says...

Honestly, am a staff at the University I can't even afford the food sold at the cafeteria. I always bring my own lunch..
It's too bad, the food they sell there is way too expensive. Perhaps, Dave you have to be in it to know how it feels like, and if you are not in it you surely don't know how it feels like. even in were I use to work which is made up of business class men and women, food there is way cheaper than in a UNIVERSITY
Honestly, am a staff at the University I can't even afford the food sold at the cafeteria. I always bring my own lunch.. It's too bad, the food they sell there is way too expensive. Perhaps, Dave you have to be in it to know how it feels like, and if you are not in it you surely don't know how it feels like. even in were I use to work which is made up of business class men and women, food there is way cheaper than in a UNIVERSITY Something Wrong
  • Score: 0

10:17am Sun 22 Apr 12

harvey_uk says...

Hold on, let us tax payers contribute more to subsidise your food! As Dave mentioned, plenty of cheap fast food within 5 mins walk from the Hendon campus. If you can't factor in food costs whilst studying at university (are you really that intelligent and deserve higher education!), I suggest you attend a local university and save on travel/accommodation so you can eat well or attend another university in one of the A8 EU countries where costs are far cheaper. Hard working tax paying people are losing their jobs/homes, some people and their kids are struggling to even afford meals and going hungry or to food banks, wake up and consider the bigger picture. I think the tuition fees are great, will get rid of those wasters on useless university courses who contribute little to the economic drive of the nation and will never repay back the system in taxes which they used to graduate.
Hold on, let us tax payers contribute more to subsidise your food! As Dave mentioned, plenty of cheap fast food within 5 mins walk from the Hendon campus. If you can't factor in food costs whilst studying at university (are you really that intelligent and deserve higher education!), I suggest you attend a local university and save on travel/accommodation so you can eat well or attend another university in one of the A8 EU countries where costs are far cheaper. Hard working tax paying people are losing their jobs/homes, some people and their kids are struggling to even afford meals and going hungry or to food banks, wake up and consider the bigger picture. I think the tuition fees are great, will get rid of those wasters on useless university courses who contribute little to the economic drive of the nation and will never repay back the system in taxes which they used to graduate. harvey_uk
  • Score: 0

1:57pm Sun 22 Apr 12

Something Wrong says...

I don't think these campaign or whatever has any thing to do with 'TAX PAYERS' the canteen in the University is ran by a private company who make students to pay through there nose by multiplying the prices of food at the university....just like you said havey "Hard working tax paying people are losing their jobs/homes, some people and their kids are struggling to even afford meals and going hungry or to food banks" imagine these kids at the university. you can't tell me if you as a student want a bottle of water within a 2min break of lecture then you have to walk up to hendon central just to get water for 50p cause in your 'expensive' cafeteria its sold for £1.15 that just does not make sense anyways, its just not the same at other University food its cheaper at other university in the UK why MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY
I don't think these campaign or whatever has any thing to do with 'TAX PAYERS' the canteen in the University is ran by a private company who make students to pay through there nose by multiplying the prices of food at the university....just like you said havey "Hard working tax paying people are losing their jobs/homes, some people and their kids are struggling to even afford meals and going hungry or to food banks" imagine these kids at the university. you can't tell me if you as a student want a bottle of water within a 2min break of lecture then you have to walk up to hendon central just to get water for 50p cause in your 'expensive' cafeteria its sold for £1.15 that just does not make sense anyways, its just not the same at other University food its cheaper at other university in the UK why MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY Something Wrong
  • Score: 0

3:21pm Sun 22 Apr 12

Cutt says...

Yes! I higly agree with 'STW' these campaign has nothing to do with Tax Payers but to there children who are in that university(Middlesex
) that takes to much and give nothing back.
The University is supporting a private contractor to make everything in the University so expensive that the fear of not surviving in campus becomes the problem of a student who's parents might have lost he or her job due to government cuts...tell me how can learning take place for such a student who is struggling with financial issues....as a former student, I have been to other Universities cafeteria but Middlesex University has the most Expensive food cafetaria....and the University is aware of these but yet can't do nothing cause they are all so in the business of making money out of poor students.....
Yes! I higly agree with 'STW' these campaign has nothing to do with Tax Payers but to there children who are in that university(Middlesex ) that takes to much and give nothing back. The University is supporting a private contractor to make everything in the University so expensive that the fear of not surviving in campus becomes the problem of a student who's parents might have lost he or her job due to government cuts...tell me how can learning take place for such a student who is struggling with financial issues....as a former student, I have been to other Universities cafeteria but Middlesex University has the most Expensive food cafetaria....and the University is aware of these but yet can't do nothing cause they are all so in the business of making money out of poor students..... Cutt
  • Score: 0

4:45pm Sun 22 Apr 12

allsfair says...

Do they teach English at this University ?
Do they teach English at this University ? allsfair
  • Score: 0

7:34pm Sun 22 Apr 12

harvey_uk says...

STW - If this issue is with high canteen prices and not a publicity stunt to gain more tax funding for cheaper student food, then why did the local press report on this. Education costs, the UK is now almost in line with higher education costs in the US, and quite rightly should be. As mentioned, if the UK degrees are too expensive, go to Poland or similar where degree costs are far cheaper and eat well. My work canteen is subsidised and still costs around £7 as well for a meal, just means I don’t eat there and choose an alternative, not call in the local press. If students are thirsty ‘between’ classes, which average around 15 hours per week in actual lectures, I doubt bringing in a bottle of water or buying from near church road side, which is a few mins walk, will really disrupt their education. I hope they pay for their fees, and then they might eat less and study harder. If they don’t have the intelligence to pre-plan or calculate their study costs accurately or schedule the price and logistics of watering themselves, then they don’t have the intelligence to gain the privilege of a higher education and don’t deserve it.
STW - If this issue is with high canteen prices and not a publicity stunt to gain more tax funding for cheaper student food, then why did the local press report on this. Education costs, the UK is now almost in line with higher education costs in the US, and quite rightly should be. As mentioned, if the UK degrees are too expensive, go to Poland or similar where degree costs are far cheaper and eat well. My work canteen is subsidised and still costs around £7 as well for a meal, just means I don’t eat there and choose an alternative, not call in the local press. If students are thirsty ‘between’ classes, which average around 15 hours per week in actual lectures, I doubt bringing in a bottle of water or buying from near church road side, which is a few mins walk, will really disrupt their education. I hope they pay for their fees, and then they might eat less and study harder. If they don’t have the intelligence to pre-plan or calculate their study costs accurately or schedule the price and logistics of watering themselves, then they don’t have the intelligence to gain the privilege of a higher education and don’t deserve it. harvey_uk
  • Score: 0

8:51pm Sun 22 Apr 12

Something Wrong says...

I think you are driving these issue to a political sense, I was been taught to stand up for what I believe in....students peacefully campaigning in oneness saying something is going wrong by standing bravely enough to say no to it. it's wisdom, freedom and courage worth more than higher education degrees...I think that's one of the things that caught the local press attention...perhaps this is in no way a government matter cause canteen itself is ran by a private company that is not been regulated they inflate prices to their own satisfaction without considering the student.... the students are fighting for there right the food there is really overpriced....they are protesting for the private company to lower the prices I did not see that as a crime...but in respect I salute there courage....I hope the prices would be reduced. And it sounds as if you are one of those making money from that expensive private company that runs the canteen at that University.... cause these is a battle between students and that private company not the GOVERNMENT OR TAX PAYER.....
I think you are driving these issue to a political sense, I was been taught to stand up for what I believe in....students peacefully campaigning in oneness saying something is going wrong by standing bravely enough to say no to it. it's wisdom, freedom and courage worth more than higher education degrees...I think that's one of the things that caught the local press attention...perhaps this is in no way a government matter cause canteen itself is ran by a private company that is not been regulated they inflate prices to their own satisfaction without considering the student.... the students are fighting for there right the food there is really overpriced....they are protesting for the private company to lower the prices I did not see that as a crime...but in respect I salute there courage....I hope the prices would be reduced. And it sounds as if you are one of those making money from that expensive private company that runs the canteen at that University.... cause these is a battle between students and that private company not the GOVERNMENT OR TAX PAYER..... Something Wrong
  • Score: 0

10:57pm Sun 22 Apr 12

Mr Worried says...

Yes, they probably do teach English at this university - badly!
Yes, they probably do teach English at this university - badly! Mr Worried
  • Score: 0

1:34am Mon 23 Apr 12

Cutt says...

and who are these "computerized literates" talking about English? Don't you guys have any important stuff to say?
and who are these "computerized literates" talking about English? Don't you guys have any important stuff to say? Cutt
  • Score: 0

3:15am Mon 23 Apr 12

harvey_uk says...

STW, big sign saying 'hungry/broke' in the picture, not a lot to do with protesting against a private company.
STW, big sign saying 'hungry/broke' in the picture, not a lot to do with protesting against a private company. harvey_uk
  • Score: 0

12:23pm Mon 23 Apr 12

james smyth says...

Welcome to the real world students .
Now you have to spend your own money it comes hard for you.
Its a private company running the canteen there so its their choice how much to charge,if they get it wrong then they wont last long just like any other business plus they proberly have paid a high price to the uni for the contract so need to recoup that in order to turn a profit.
Do you protest outside other business about their prices or do you simply shop elsewhere?
IF the student union is so clever at profit and loss then they would realise all the overheads that there are in running a business and how that will be reflected in the prices,but then again they obviously know nothing as they were giving away free food!
Welcome to the real world students . Now you have to spend your own money it comes hard for you. Its a private company running the canteen there so its their choice how much to charge,if they get it wrong then they wont last long just like any other business plus they proberly have paid a high price to the uni for the contract so need to recoup that in order to turn a profit. Do you protest outside other business about their prices or do you simply shop elsewhere? IF the student union is so clever at profit and loss then they would realise all the overheads that there are in running a business and how that will be reflected in the prices,but then again they obviously know nothing as they were giving away free food! james smyth
  • Score: 1

8:48pm Mon 23 Apr 12

Don't Call Me Dave says...

I was sitting in the Quad at Middlesex this afternoon. It was amazing to observe the number of students using iPads, iPhones, Blackberries and other expensive hi-tech gadgets. Yet for some reason, the student union expects taxpayers to subsidise the food in canteens. You go to university to study. If you cannot afford the cafeteria prices, then make a packed lunch. It is not only much cheaper, but likely to be a healthier and more nutritious option. It will also teach you an important lesson about self dependency. It is no wonder this country is in a mess when the lefties who run the union try to indoctrinate impressionable students into believing that you can have ‘something for nothing’. In the real world, people buy their own lunch. Get over it.
I was sitting in the Quad at Middlesex this afternoon. It was amazing to observe the number of students using iPads, iPhones, Blackberries and other expensive hi-tech gadgets. Yet for some reason, the student union expects taxpayers to subsidise the food in canteens. You go to university to study. If you cannot afford the cafeteria prices, then make a packed lunch. It is not only much cheaper, but likely to be a healthier and more nutritious option. It will also teach you an important lesson about self dependency. It is no wonder this country is in a mess when the lefties who run the union try to indoctrinate impressionable students into believing that you can have ‘something for nothing’. In the real world, people buy their own lunch. Get over it. Don't Call Me Dave
  • Score: 0

12:42am Tue 24 Apr 12

harvey_uk says...

Thank God some sensible comments. James and Dave, seems like we are the only people living on planet earth paying taxes and want to see value from our tax. Some people really cant see the wood from the trees with some of the comments I've seen.
Thank God some sensible comments. James and Dave, seems like we are the only people living on planet earth paying taxes and want to see value from our tax. Some people really cant see the wood from the trees with some of the comments I've seen. harvey_uk
  • Score: 0

12:46am Tue 24 Apr 12

harvey_uk says...

Maybe the canteen put the prices up as Middlesex University no longer earn revenue renting out rooms for Palestine ‘debates’.
Maybe the canteen put the prices up as Middlesex University no longer earn revenue renting out rooms for Palestine ‘debates’. harvey_uk
  • Score: 0

10:08am Tue 24 Apr 12

MDX student says...

Well, as far as TAXPAYERS' MONEY for which you are so protective about, one of the major reasons for which taxes are levied are to create WELFARE. And from what I have understood, welfare is created by SUBSIDISING students, disables, aged people and the other vulnerable groups in society. Here is the deal my dear Market-is-our-God commentators , you would be subsidising our food, let's say, now. After we graduate, we are not going to vanish! We are a part of the British economy. We will work somewhere, and we will also achieve the status of the "taxpayer" for which you so much boast about. Then, we will have no qualms about subsidising the ones from low income groups. We CANNOT live in the society where only the 'haves' enjoy. Your comments suggest that only the 'haves' can eat in our canteen. It is OUR canteen, a can of coke costs outrageously 99p there! And that precisely is not acceptable. Yes we need the "real world" where private firms and education sector do not plunder students, one of the lowest income groups in society. P.S Yes, the university does teach English, I suppose you can see that now.
Well, as far as TAXPAYERS' MONEY for which you are so protective about, one of the major reasons for which taxes are levied are to create WELFARE. And from what I have understood, welfare is created by SUBSIDISING students, disables, aged people and the other vulnerable groups in society. Here is the deal my dear Market-is-our-God commentators , you would be subsidising our food, let's say, now. After we graduate, we are not going to vanish! We are a part of the British economy. We will work somewhere, and we will also achieve the status of the "taxpayer" for which you so much boast about. Then, we will have no qualms about subsidising the ones from low income groups. We CANNOT live in the society where only the 'haves' enjoy. Your comments suggest that only the 'haves' can eat in our canteen. It is OUR canteen, a can of coke costs outrageously 99p there! And that precisely is not acceptable. Yes we need the "real world" where private firms and education sector do not plunder students, one of the lowest income groups in society. P.S Yes, the university does teach English, I suppose you can see that now. MDX student
  • Score: 0

1:01pm Tue 24 Apr 12

slimcufc says...

This is not a 'political' issue, rather one of common sense. If the living costs of students increases, then so will the amount of support that they will require. High prices, including on campus facilities, exacerbate this problem.
A question - if the cafe in Brent Street can make a living selling coke for 75p why can't the catering outlet in the university? Is it because the rent at the university is higher, or is it profiteering?
This is not a 'political' issue, rather one of common sense. If the living costs of students increases, then so will the amount of support that they will require. High prices, including on campus facilities, exacerbate this problem. A question - if the cafe in Brent Street can make a living selling coke for 75p why can't the catering outlet in the university? Is it because the rent at the university is higher, or is it profiteering? slimcufc
  • Score: 0

1:25pm Tue 24 Apr 12

harvey_uk says...

MDX student, taxes are not to provide just welfare, there is the country and it’s infrastructure to support, this is where your narrow minded, short life span hasn’t actually understood the bigger picture. If you can't afford to eat at the canteen don't moan, go somewhere else to eat! Plenty of other places around Church st offer cheap meals, student discounts etc or bring in a sandwich! If you can't afford the 99p can of fizzy drink, get one from somewhere else or bring in a bottle of tap water from home. Go get a part time job to pay for your food, or live at a local university to you and save on accomodation. Sooner or later the canteen will go out of business. Those people in society who you feel are in the ‘haves’, somewhere themselves or their family line has had to work and earn for those ‘haves’, and I bet they didn’t waste time protesting about 99p can of drink. I really hope your not studing economics as your wasting my taxes. We live in a free market economy, if you don't like it, move to North Korea.
MDX student, taxes are not to provide just welfare, there is the country and it’s infrastructure to support, this is where your narrow minded, short life span hasn’t actually understood the bigger picture. If you can't afford to eat at the canteen don't moan, go somewhere else to eat! Plenty of other places around Church st offer cheap meals, student discounts etc or bring in a sandwich! If you can't afford the 99p can of fizzy drink, get one from somewhere else or bring in a bottle of tap water from home. Go get a part time job to pay for your food, or live at a local university to you and save on accomodation. Sooner or later the canteen will go out of business. Those people in society who you feel are in the ‘haves’, somewhere themselves or their family line has had to work and earn for those ‘haves’, and I bet they didn’t waste time protesting about 99p can of drink. I really hope your not studing economics as your wasting my taxes. We live in a free market economy, if you don't like it, move to North Korea. harvey_uk
  • Score: 0

2:03pm Tue 24 Apr 12

slimcufc says...

harvey_uk wrote:
MDX student, taxes are not to provide just welfare, there is the country and it’s infrastructure to support, this is where your narrow minded, short life span hasn’t actually understood the bigger picture. If you can't afford to eat at the canteen don't moan, go somewhere else to eat! Plenty of other places around Church st offer cheap meals, student discounts etc or bring in a sandwich! If you can't afford the 99p can of fizzy drink, get one from somewhere else or bring in a bottle of tap water from home. Go get a part time job to pay for your food, or live at a local university to you and save on accomodation. Sooner or later the canteen will go out of business. Those people in society who you feel are in the ‘haves’, somewhere themselves or their family line has had to work and earn for those ‘haves’, and I bet they didn’t waste time protesting about 99p can of drink. I really hope your not studing economics as your wasting my taxes. We live in a free market economy, if you don't like it, move to North Korea.
We do not live in a free market economy- as the recent bail out of the banks finally proved.
Students have quite rightly had their say about a perceived injustice - what is the problem with that?
[quote][p][bold]harvey_uk[/bold] wrote: MDX student, taxes are not to provide just welfare, there is the country and it’s infrastructure to support, this is where your narrow minded, short life span hasn’t actually understood the bigger picture. If you can't afford to eat at the canteen don't moan, go somewhere else to eat! Plenty of other places around Church st offer cheap meals, student discounts etc or bring in a sandwich! If you can't afford the 99p can of fizzy drink, get one from somewhere else or bring in a bottle of tap water from home. Go get a part time job to pay for your food, or live at a local university to you and save on accomodation. Sooner or later the canteen will go out of business. Those people in society who you feel are in the ‘haves’, somewhere themselves or their family line has had to work and earn for those ‘haves’, and I bet they didn’t waste time protesting about 99p can of drink. I really hope your not studing economics as your wasting my taxes. We live in a free market economy, if you don't like it, move to North Korea.[/p][/quote]We do not live in a free market economy- as the recent bail out of the banks finally proved. Students have quite rightly had their say about a perceived injustice - what is the problem with that? slimcufc
  • Score: 0

2:37pm Tue 24 Apr 12

harvey_uk says...

As mentioend, some people really have difficulty in seeing the wood from the trees.
As mentioend, some people really have difficulty in seeing the wood from the trees. harvey_uk
  • Score: 0

4:12pm Tue 24 Apr 12

Something Wrong says...

Wow!! its ridiculous, how can one explain things to people in other for them to understand their plight. For those who 'Politics' runs in their veins, this is OUR University, OUR canteen we decide what happens there, we decide what we want...WE SAY FOOD IS OVERPRICED AND WE WANT 'CHARTWELLS' TO REDUCE THE PRICE OR GIVE US VALUE FOR WHAT WE ARE SPENDING MONEY FOR..PERIOD!!!!!!!!!
!!!
Wow!! its ridiculous, how can one explain things to people in other for them to understand their plight. For those who 'Politics' runs in their veins, this is OUR University, OUR canteen we decide what happens there, we decide what we want...WE SAY FOOD IS OVERPRICED AND WE WANT 'CHARTWELLS' TO REDUCE THE PRICE OR GIVE US VALUE FOR WHAT WE ARE SPENDING MONEY FOR..PERIOD!!!!!!!!! !!! Something Wrong
  • Score: 0

6:23pm Tue 24 Apr 12

Don't Call Me Dave says...

To Something Wrong, I am an MDX student and it is my canteen as much as yours. If you don’t like the prices in the cafeteria, get off your lazy backside and do what many of your fellow students already do. We buy from somewhere else. There is no law that says places of higher education have to provide cheap fizzy pop for your benefit. It is a pity that some students seem to be more concerned with union provoked activism than turning up for lessons on time and sitting in a class for more than an hour without updating their facebook status.
To Something Wrong, I am an MDX student and it is my canteen as much as yours. If you don’t like the prices in the cafeteria, get off your lazy backside and do what many of your fellow students already do. We buy from somewhere else. There is no law that says places of higher education have to provide cheap fizzy pop for your benefit. It is a pity that some students seem to be more concerned with union provoked activism than turning up for lessons on time and sitting in a class for more than an hour without updating their facebook status. Don't Call Me Dave
  • Score: 0

7:54pm Tue 24 Apr 12

Something Wrong says...

Lol.... Now I know who you really are.
Lol.... Now I know who you really are. Something Wrong
  • Score: 0

11:15pm Wed 25 Apr 12

harvey_uk says...

Something wrong, I don't get value from petrol prices or supermarkets, wonder if you can moan about that? You own the university shows how stupid you actually are, its people like myself who have funded universities and students via my taxes! Not quite true when you say it's 'OURS'! Stop talking rubbish and get real.
Something wrong, I don't get value from petrol prices or supermarkets, wonder if you can moan about that? You own the university shows how stupid you actually are, its people like myself who have funded universities and students via my taxes! Not quite true when you say it's 'OURS'! Stop talking rubbish and get real. harvey_uk
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree