Busy schedules and limited incomes often push college students towards specific grocery shopping trends.
With strenuous schedules and limited money, many college students advocate to shop for their groceries at stores such as Kroger or Walmart.
“The prices at Kroger seem to be more competitive than higher-end stores like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods,” Spencer Anderson, a senior at the University of Kentucky, said
The main determiner of where students grocery shopped was the price of their food items. Students viewed Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods to be too expensive and found that they would prefer to spend their money elsewhere.
Students overall felt that they would not be able to consistently afford to shop at specialty food markets, and opted for other options.
Stores like Kroger, Walmart and Target all proved to be more popular among UK’s students.
A popular option for many students is the Kroger grocery store located on Euclid Avenue.
Another student, Carissa Kimball, commented that "some grocery stores offer non-name brand items, which makes some food items lower priced.”
Kroger is one of the grocery stores offering their very own brands of food items inclined many students to shop there.
The location of Kroger was also found to be very convenient. Being right outside of campus, students did not feel like they had to travel out of their way to supply their groceries.
Students found that their shopping experience at Kroger or Walmart was overall an easier shopping experience and they could get more for their money there.
Frozen foods and pre-made meals were some of the most popular items purchased by students at any grocery store. These options offer quick and easy preparation which is one of the most important factors when grocery shopping for college students.
“I primarily buy frozen or pre-made meals because it saves me the most time,” Logan Saylor, a junior student at UK, said
Many students also found that their food would expire before they had the chance to make it. “With a busy work and school schedule, I often do not have the time or desire to cook fresh meals everyday,” Saylor said.
“Sometimes half of my food will have to be thrown away because I would eat out instead of cooking, or simply did not have enough time to cook,” commented Saylor again.
Despite favoring frozen meals, students said they still look for healthier options in the frozen sections of their grocery stores.
Frozen fruits and vegetables are a great and popular option for busy students that still want to maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet.
Stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are often categorized by having “healthier options,” but students did not feel that shopping at a specific grocery store affected the types of foods they would buy.
“No matter where I buy my groceries, I know I will buy relatively the same items, so there is no point in spending more money on the same item at another store,” Kimball said.
Another popular option for students was the Target located underneath the Hub on South Upper Street.
Students living at the Hub found this to be a convenient way to purchase their groceries.
“I love that I can just walk downstairs and pick up a meal any time I would like,” Rael Francis, a senior student living at the Hub, said.
The Hub is also located near North campus and is only a short walk from many classroom buildings and dorms.
Overall, convenience and price point were the two main factors in determining where college students shop for their groceries.
Target and Kroger appeared to be the easiest stores to access, while also providing non-name brands at lower prices.