McMaster food prices on the rise McMaster students now need to budget their food expenses, and I don’t mean a meal plan


By: Jim Xie

One of the biggest struggles most university students face is staying well-nourished amidst a busy schedule of study, work and extracurricular commitments.

McMaster University prides itself in putting students first, providing myriad programs and resources that promote physical and mental health.

However, the rising prices of campus food contradict the themes of student wellness around which the McMaster community is built.

Students are finding it increasingly difficult to find a financially sustainable source of nourishment.

East Meets West Bistro has never been considered the cheapest place for on-campus dining, but a freshly introduced $1.00 price increase to every item on its revamped menu has greatly reduced the restaurant’s cost-efficiency.

Even the lunch special, which eponymously offers an affordable alternative to other menu choices, has gone up to $10.50 before taxes in comparison to $9.50 last year.

These prices staggeringly contrast student meals off-campus, the average of which hovers around $8.00 to $9.00 post-tax.

Such increases in food price are leading meal plans down a path of obsolescence in terms of food security.

Another important example is Willy Dog, which has sported an increase in price from $3.50 to $5.00 at the start of the new school year. Although this food option is not covered by meal plans, the price change was sorely noted on the “Spotted at Mac” Facebook page, where an anonymous student described the price increase as dramatic, insensible,and utterly ridiculous.

On top of juggling academic and extracurricular involvements as well as struggling with tuition and residence fees, students increasingly worry about not having enough food to eat. 

Students have to deal with the fact that now, even buying a hot dog warrants the need for heavy financial consideration.

Fortunately, most of the establishments within McMaster University Student Center’s La Piazza have yet to follow this price trend. It is not unreasonable, however, to expect similar price adjustments in the near future.

Accompanying these elevations in food price is an unhealthy increase in stress.

On top of juggling academic and extracurricular involvements as well as struggling with tuition and residence fees, students increasingly worry about not having enough food to eat.

This is especially true for students who are newly transitioning into University.

Living away from home and being slugged into a foreign environment is a daunting challenge for most students, and having to constantly think about putting food on the table only exacerbates this mental instability.

The food situation even affects students living off-campus, a population that depends on the occasional on-campus snack or meal to accommodate rigid, tightly-packed schedules.

Off-campus students may end up buying less of the pricey on-campus food to conserve money, be forced to work more hours to compensate for increased food costs, or dedicate more time and money to grocery shopping and cooking personal meal.

Hardworking students should not have to choose between these options, each of which exerts unique burdens on physical and mental well-being.

Initiatives such as “Nolunchmoney” are offering McMaster students economical alternatives to campus food and aim to counteract food unaffordability.

However, the amount of services such organizations provide is limited and not enough to offset the rate of rising food prices.

Unless more initiatives are implemented and McMaster Hospitality Services get involved, this issue will continue to grow and remain unresolved.

The costly nature of campus food was already of concern in the past, but the price increases introduced this year are simply irrational and unfair to the tuition-paying student body.

The state of hospitality services at McMaster University should be closely monitored to ensure that accessing food is not as major source of stress as covering tuition and residence fees.


Share This Post On