Anyone who wants to get lunch at one of the university cafeterias will have to bring a full wallet. Beijk, who manages the cafeterias, has increased its prices. Students are bummed, but people are also understanding.
While a cup of vegetarian soup used to cost 1.10, it’s now 1.25. The fancier soup, which has meat, went from 1.60 to 1.80. Many other products are more expensive as well, such as coffee and sandwiches.
The students are feeling the pinch. ‘It’s impossible to afford eating lunch here several times a week. All I eat now is soup, because everything else is too expensive’, says Lisanne Schaafsma, a student of international law.
‘I understand inflation has made everything more expensive’, says media student Cato Wessels, ‘but it would be great if the uni could provide some cheap meals.’
According to Beijk’s director of contract catering Marcel de Boer, the company didn’t have a choice. ‘This is the first time in two and a half years that we’re increasing the prices. Everything is more expensive, so we had to. We have higher costs to pay.’
He says that Beijk currently pays 20 to 25 percent more for coffee beans. ‘Yes, the soup now costs more than 1.10. But we use stock, fresh vegetables, and croutons. We’re not serving Cup-a-Soup. There’s just no way for us to cut costs.’
History student Ada Berghuis doesn’t understand why a salad is more expensive than a croquette. ‘That doesn’t stimulate people to eat healthily’, she says. But those healthy products haven’t actually gone up in price, De Boer emphasises. ‘We have a deal with the university that those prices will stay the same. We have the option of indexing in January, but we didn’t do that this year in an effort to meet the students halfway.’
Nevertheless, Harm Berdewold, another history student, isn’t happy with the price increase. ‘It’s counterproductive, because there’s no way I’m still eating here. They’ll also lose money if they lose clients’, he says. ‘I’ve seen people come in here with an Albert Heijn bag, that should tell you enough.’
Student of Middle Eastern studies Xander Bernard also goes to the supermarket to get lunch. ‘A simple sandwich here is 1.20. I’d rather go to the Albert Heijn and get a proper sandwich for two bucks. Going to the supermarket is also a great way to avoid the lines here on top of saving money.’
Some students don’t mind the higher prices, though. ‘I’m from Finland, where things are plenty expensive. I don’t really mind’, says arts, culture & media student Olivia Indrén. ‘I’m more concerned about the increasing energy prices.’
Fellow student Mima Mićić thinks it’s ‘cheap enough for a quick bite’. ‘In Serbia, where I’m from, we don’t use the euro, so the prices feel artificial anyway.’
History student Stan Gräper ‘seriously’ doesn’t think the cafeteria prices are too high. ‘I got three bowls of soup and a croquette for just under six bucks, that’s really cheap.’
Law student Amber Köhler thinks it’s worth it for the convenience. ‘I do think it’s expensive, but if you don’t bring anything from home, that’s the choice you make’, she says. ‘I was going to bring a sandwich, but I ended up not doing that, so I have no choice.’