5 Surprising Ways to Attract Hungry College Students

ibotta college dorm room eating 101 infographic

An eight-month meal plan at a U.S. college costs an average of $4,500—roughly $600 more than what the average person spends on food for an entire year, according to a new study by discount shopping company Ibotta.

Ibotta provides cash back on in-store and mobile purchases through its free mobile shopping app. Such purchases include groceries, clothing, electronics, gifts, home and office supplies, restaurant dining and hotel rooms. The Denver-based company was founded in 2012 and has more than 26 million downloads in the United States today.

The report, Dorm Room Eating 101, offers college students ways to save money while shopping for food. Ibotta analyzed shopping habits of more than 233 million students between 2015 and 2018 while examining the average price per various items on a weekly basis.

Here are five ways to attract hungry college students, according to Ibotta …

Photo courtesy of Ibotta. 

1. 'Sunday funday'

ibotta college infographic sunday is the best day to buy

The study found that college students who are Ibotta app users shop for food mostly on Sunday, compared to general Ibotta users who do so on Saturday. Additionally, Sunday is the best day to buy coffee, sports and energy drinks and frozen pizza—all stapes among college students. Chips and popcorn, however, were found to be 2% cheaper on Thursday vs. Sunday—the latter being the worst day to purchase the products entirely, according to the study.

Photo courtesy of Ibotta. 

2. Stay open later

ibotta college infographic stay open after 6 pm

College students are more likely to shop for food after 6 p.m.—significantly higher than the average Ibotta app user, according to the study.

Photo courtesy of Ibotta. 

3. Open West Coast stores

ibotta college infographic saviest shoppers for college aged users

Students on the West Coast are shopping more than those on the East Coast, the study said. The top states for college-age Ibotta app users include Utah, Idaho and California, while New Hampshire and Florida finished toward the bottom of the list.

Photo courtesy of Ibotta. 

4. Promote pasta on Thursdays

ibotta college infographic mac & cheese and pasta on thursdays

Pasta is cheapest on Thursday, making it a viable day to purchase noodles, said the study. Ibotta found that macaroni and cheese is 3% cheaper on Thursday vs. Tuesday, while pasta in general is 2.5% cheaper on Thursday compared to Monday.

Photo courtesy of Ibotta. 

5. Saturdays are for soup

ibotta college infographic soup on saturdays

The study found that soup is 2% cheaper on Saturday vs. Monday—the latter being the worst day to buy soup altogether.

Photo courtesy of Ibotta.