Is Your Meal Plan Worth It?

Oregon State University encourages all students to purchase a meal plan by selling to them that they have quality food and service. Also, it is quick and convenient for students because the food is readily available during most times of the day. But is the meal plan truly worth the large price that you have to pay? I don’t think so.

I was shopping at Winco Foods last week and I came across this half pound Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and it caught my eye because I had never seen one that big before. So, then I looked at the price of it and it cost $10.00 which is pretty expense for candy.  I then wondered what the price of this same item would be at in Cascadia Market which is location inside of the International Living-Learnig Center. I went to check and this same item would cost a student $22.00 at an on campus market. The price difference of $12.00 is substantially high just to purchase this item with your meal plan.

West dining hall has a restaurant in it call Tomasillos which is an Italian restaurant which serves pizza and pasta. Since I make past every week I wanted to compare the quantity of food between buying everything you need to make pasta at the grocery store vs purchasing it at Tomasillos. At Tomasillos, their pasta is $6.00 and you get one serving of pasta. At Winco, it costs $12.50 to buy everything that you would need to make pasta for example, noodles, sauce and meat. This amount of pasta normally makes about five to six servings of food. In contrast to the pasta that you can get on campus, buying pasta and making from the grocery store and making it yourself would yield you four to five more serving than buying it on campus would.

Trying to buy protein on campus is also very expensive. Below I have two picture of shrimp. One is from Cascadia Market and this other is the usual one I purchase from Winco.

On the right, you can see that shrimp from Cascadia costs $6.15. In the carton, it looks like there is a maximum amount of about 15 shrimp. On top is the shrimp that I purchase from Winco Foods. This bag of shrimp costs around $3.00. In comparison, you get about 60 to 70 more pieces of shrimp. The difference between the pricing of these two items and the quantity of food you get in this example is truly shocking.

After looking at three specific examples of the cost of food on campus between the food off campus, I do not think that purchasing a meal plan is worth it. Buying food off campus is not only cheaper but you get much more food than you would if you purchase it on campus.

To fix this problem, Oregon State could lower the prices of the food that they have on campus or they could start giving students more food because I think that the price of shrimp compared to how much shrimp you get is just unreasonable especially for first-year students living in the residence halls that are trying to make their meals.






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