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Supermarkets chase the student pound

publication date: Sep 9, 2008
author/source: Fiona Beckett
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It should come as no surprise, given that students make up over 15% of the working population, but supermarkets and other food companies are dead keen on attracting a student clientele. As with their campaigns directed at other sections of the population it’s all about loyalty. They know that most people only shop once or twice a week and they want to be the store you go to.

This autumn Sainsbury’s has raised the game by introducing a Student Meal Ticket which can be used to buy over 30,000 products across Sainsbury’s stores, including non food essentials for student digs like cutlery, crockery, and bedding. Craftily it is targeted at parents anxious that their offspring may blow their loans on less useful consumer goods.

The ‘ticket’ comes in two parts – a card for the student to use in store and one for the parent to keep and top up. All parents have to do is credit the card with any amount, from £1 up to £750 (er, unlikely . . . ) keep the top part of the card and give the bottom card to the student. They can top up the card in-store or online.

It’s an ingenious, headline-grabbing scheme but possibly a bit of a reckless one. There’s no reason, I assume, why the student shouldn’t use the card to top up their booze supplies. Not that you would, of course ;-)

Rather more sensibly Sainsbury’s will also be also offering ‘student bundles’ from tomorrow - a Food Cupboard Bundle (right) including products such as chopped tomatoes, tea bags, muesli and baked beans and a Household Bundle including equipment like kettles, toasted sandwich makers, duvets, pots, pans and crockery, both sourced from their ‘Basics’ range.

Tesco and Asda are also targetting the student market. Tesco is offering a Kitchen Starter Set for £53, some ‘back to Uni’ Cookware (though this only seemed to consist of a salt and pepper grinder when I checked and ‘back to Uni Dining’ (a 12 piece dinner set for £22). There are also some useful boxes and hangers under the heading of Back to Uni storage though I suspect you might be able to find some of these cheaper elsewhere. There are  also some very keen offers on computers and printers (Seems that computers are the new front-line of the supermarket price war.)

Asda has approached us to work with them on their new Local Food for Students campaign so you’ll be hearing more about that over the coming weeks. We said yes for two reasons. Well, three. Firstly because they asked us and we need the money ;-). secondly we approve of supporting local suppliers and thirdly they offered us a REALLY GOOD PRIZE which you are just going to love. More details later this week . . .


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