Course assignment: Food for Thought (2022-2023): Food Choices - Students insights

These results are from three groups of students in this year's edition of the "Food for Thought" minor course which focuses on "how food consumption practices are influenced by the wider food system, including the food supply chain as well as the food environment we live in."

Group #1: Choose your food wisely or it will become pricey

Motivation: Current inflation raises prices causing students to eat less and buy less food on campus

Methods: Observations in the cafeteria + student interviews


  • Change product range at the VU to include healthier options and observe how that influences food choices
  • Provide recommendations to VU dining services on how to provide more healthy food options

Group #2: Changing Food Choices

Motivation: To figure out what the most important drivers behind food choices are and what the thought process is behind the choices of VU students

Methods: mixed methods: Focus group (n=7), and questionnaire: Likert scale (n= 170) respondents (n= 45 not useful)


  • Encourage healthy choices among students
  • Offer more healthy options in the vending machines on campus
  • Implement a points system: if you purchase a certain number of healthy food items you receive a free healthy meal
  • Group interaction (in a focus group for example) makes for more robust results since the group participants guide themselves

Group #3: Facilitators and barriers to food consumption

Motivation: Students on a budget cannot follow a healthy diet --> Goal: Does this perception hold up?

Methods: mixed methods: Interviews and questionnaire (combined with group #2)


  • Education on healthy food options
  • Having a nutritionist present in the cafeteria
  • Vegan days
  • Discounts and free samples on/of healthy foods and a points system like the 2nd group mentioned
  • Give students a platform to talk about their food choices more since there seems to be a lot of interest
  • One surprising response to their questionnaire: the VU should not use fat-phobic language (something they had not already observed themselves).