Exploring Lancaster: food shopping

Students' Union

Once you arrive in Lancaster University, you will find yourself in a completely new environment, and probably the most important question for you will be where to buy everyday essentials and food. There are plenty of supermarkets in Lancaster, which is positive on the one hand. On the other hand, it makes your choice more difficult. In this post I will try to compare different means of shopping.

1. On campus Convenient Stores (LUSU Central and Spar)
These are two small stores located on campus. LUSU Central belongs to the Lancaster University Students’ Union (LUSU) and Spar is a well-known brand. I consider them together since they are quite similar, they have almost the same assortment and pricing policy.

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Convenient location – if you want to buy something on spot (spontaneous purchase) or if you immediately need an ingredient for your meal, these stores are always in the vicinity.

Spar offers good deals on vegetables.

LUSU Central offers good meal deals, plus Purple card holders can benefit from discounts and special offers.

Prices are significantly higher than in the big supermarkets.

Product range is rather narrow.

2. Sainsbury’s
Sainsbury’s is the biggest supermarket (I would even say a department store) in Lancaster.

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Product range is extremely wide.

On-line delivery (your basket must be worth of £40+) with convenient time-slots.

First-purchase discount. Excellent client service.

There is a free bus that goes on Wednesdays every hour from Lancaster University to Sainsbury’s and back. If you want to use it when returning on campus from the town centre, you must show to the driver a receipt from Sainsbury’s worth £5 or more.

Prices are lower than in Spar or LUSU Central, but I would argue this is one of the most expensive supermarkets.

If you order online delivery, they quite often replace 2-3 out-of-stock items with what they call ‘a suitable match’. The delivery man always asks you if you are happy with the replacement or not, if not, money for this item will be returned.

3. Marks and Spencer
M&S is a famous department store which sells fine clothes and food. In Lancaster, it is located on the main street – Penny Street.

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Undeniable quality. Products from M&S will be good souvenirs from England for your friends and family. There are many special offers before Christmas, New Year and Easter.

Quality. Quality. Quality.

Price is rather high compared to other supermarkets/food retailers.

4. ASDA
ASDA is located in Morecambe, not in Lancaster. Like Sainsbury’s, it is a department store, but of a slightly lower scale.

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Prices are quite cheap (definitely cheaper than in Sainsbury’s or M&S).

On-line delivery (your basket must be worth of £40+) with convenient time-slots.

The same issue with product replacement as in Sainsbury’s.

Quality of food is slightly lower than in Sainsbury’s (on average, not always).

5. ALDI
ALDI is the cheapest supermarket in Lancaster (imho), although it’s located in Morecambe.

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ALDI provides the lowest prices on the market.

Product range is wide (but narrower than in Sainsbury’s or ASDA).

No food delivery available. That is a very big minus.

6. TESCO
TESCO is a world-known brand. There are no TESCO stores in Lancaster, however you can order food from them online.

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Online delivery.

Good quality of food.

Slightly expensive (Sainsbury’s level, sometimes even higher).

 

Baby steps after reaching Lancaster- What, where and how to shop on student budgets?

Welcome to Lancaster, a city that guarantees new experiences to your one or many years of academic life! I am Sarada, an MSc Management student of the 2015-2016 batch. Life at Lancaster for me was an amazing experience. To start with, it is not difficult to travel in this small town with a population of around 50,000 and the people are really friendly here. The city centre is the best shopping place to buy things.

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Landing at your accommodation, you realize that you need to shop to settle in. Though the options of shopping at amazon and online shopping for groceries exist, it is a ritual undertaken by students to do their first shopping at the town. Travelling to the city by bus is one of the most convenient and cheap method of transportation. It takes about 2.50 to travel to the town and back to the University. The few places that are frequented by students to economically shop are:

  1. Wilko- bedding pack, detergents, stationary, cutlery, utensils, bathing products
  2. Poundland- everything is for a pound, but do not expect to see a wide variety of products
  3. Sainsbury- monthly groceries
  4. Mountain Warehouse- one stop destination to stock up on Winter wear
  5. Iceland- exclusive store to buy frozen products

Happy Shopping and do not forget to explore the other shops in the town!