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Salad days for students who get “fresher” with NUS extra cards

24th September 2014 Print

The stereotypical student diet of booze, beans and biscuits could be a thing of the past according to new research by The Co-operative Food.

Over 10 million purchases were analysed to reveal the shopping habits of savvy students who receive a 10% discount on groceries at the community-based retailer’s 2,800 stores when they use their NUS Extra card.

Reassuringly for parents, fresh fruit, vegetables and, chicken, are among the food and drink items most frequently purchased. While a desire for home comforts earns crumpets a top 10 listing.

Beyond the essentials of milk and bread, breakfast favourites prove to be the most popular with eggs, bacon and croissants in the top 20. And, outside the top 20, students’ with a sweet-tooth are more likely to crack open a Crème Egg (31st) than any other chocolate product.

In the annual cardholder survey carried out by NUS Extra, The Co-operative Food was found to be the discount “used most regularly by NUS Extra cardholders”, followed by New Look; Amazon; Superdrug; ASOS; Odeon and, Pizza Express.

Andrew Mann, Customer Director, The Co-operative Food, said: “Students are facing increasing financial pressures while studying, and are becoming more savvy when it comes to food shopping. Many students are living away from home for the first time, and learning to live and cook on a budget. The Co-operative is committed to delivering quality products at great prices in convenient locations, and with around 2,800 stores across the UK, students can use their discount wherever they live or study – good news for students and reassuring for parents.

“As a parent myself, It’s great to see that the purchases being made are not in-line with many people’s perception of what a stereotypical student diet would look like. Whether it’s the resurgence in cooking from scratch, or increased awareness of the importance of making healthy choices, it seems that many students are well on their way to their “five-a-day” and, choosing a more balanced and healthy diet."

Alex Butcher, Partnership and Marketing Manager for NUS Extra, said: “The objective of the partnership between NUS Extra and The Co-operative Food is to make grocery shopping more affordable for students, so it is very encouraging to not only see students making the most of the 10% discount, but using it to make good, healthy choices when it comes to their diet. The Co-operative Food is an ideal partner for the NUS, as a community-based retailer, with a store in every UK postal area, it is a perfect choice for students picking up food on their way to and from lectures.”

NUS Extra sold more than 650,000 cards last year and The Co-operative Food became the only food retailer to offer a student discount when it joined the scheme 12 months ago.

The 10% discount for students is in addition to The Co-operative’s price investment to lower prices on hundreds of everyday essentials. Dubbed, “Fair & Square prices,” The Co-operative’s campaign aims to provide quality food at lower prices in order to transform the community shopping experience for customers, including items such as its own-brand 75p farmhouse loaf.

The NUS Extra card costs £12 for a full 12 months of savings from the date of purchase. Profits from sales of the card generates much needed income for Students’ Unions and funding for NUS student welfare campaigns.

For further details and information, or to apply for a NUS Extra card, visit

For more information about in-store discounts available for students at The Co-operative Food visit