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Grocery delivery increases food options for students on campus

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Rebecca Noble | The Daily Wildcat

Nrich Urban Market offers healthy eating options to students in the Student Union. Though a healthy option is an improvement to student dining, Nrich is not affordable for many students facing food insecurity.

While living on or near campus, many students depend on eating the food available nearby. In most cases, that means the Student Union Memorial Center or stores like U-Mart, Highland Market, NRich Urban Market or the CVS  on University Boulevard, where groceries and produce can be found.

“The problem we run into is that it can be kind of expensive to eat on campus, and especially to eat healthy foods on campus,” Student Body President Matt Lubisich said. 

Healthier options on campus include NRich Urban Market, which offers fresh juices priced at $4.99, fresh seasonal produce, nut butters and health-conscious snacks. Other healthier eateries at the Student Union and the Student Recreation Center include IQ Fresh, Core and Fuel, where salads, wraps, smoothies and other nutritious items are offered.

CatCards can be used any place on campus and also on stores off campus like CVS and Whole Foods. 

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“I know when I eat better I definitely feel better,” Brianna Barnhart, a vocal performance senior said. “In my experience, stores on campus are mostly just snack items. I mean, I think the Student Union is going in the right direction; they could maybe just have an equal number of places with gluten-free and healthy options.”

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A new way of getting groceries also recently debuted in Tucson, potentially helping students save time and allowing them to order their groceries from Fry’s, Natural Grocers, Costco, CVS, Whole Foods, Petco and Bashas’.

Since 2012, Instacart has been expanding from San Francisco, California and continues to grow with a goal of reaching 80 percent of the U.S. by 2018, according to its website.

Ordering groceries through Instacart guarantees in-store pricing, with a delivery charge of $5.99 when an order is over $35. Instacart also offers Instacart Express, which is a membership allowing frequent app users to skip the delivery charge when their order is over $35. The membership is priced at $149 yearly. 

“Many college students are really busy, and Instacart is really affordable,” David Holyoak, senior operations manager for Instacart, said. “They are studying for their exam and they have a social life. Grocery shopping is something you have to budget time for. When you’re not cramming for a test or studying, you want to do what you want to do, so we give that time back to college students.”

For students wanting to purchase their groceries off campus, ASUA does offer SafeRide to students, which is a free mode of transportation to grocery stores in Tucson. A map of certain locations SafeRide frequents can be found here.

The Sun Link streetcar also takes passengers downtown and to Fourth Avenue, where local marketplaces and stores sell food items and produce.

Economics senior Sarah Colandreo said she typically orders her groceries from Safeway because, without a car, it was the easiest and most convenient method. 

“I feel like ordering my groceries that way definitely helped me be healthier because I was able to focus on what I really needed, not what I wanted,” Colandreo said. “A lot of times, it’s hard to get the things I need since there’s no grocery store that’s near us and the CVS is really expensive.”

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Safeway delivery requires there be a minimum of $49 grocery amount, and at most locations deliver from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. In most areas, the delivery charge is $9.95 on purchases of $150 or more and $12.95 on purchases under $150, according to its website.

On average, people in the U.S. take 1.5 trips to the grocery store weekly, according to FMI’s U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends of 2015.

Lubisich said he believes in the past two to three years the Student Union has heavily acknowledged healthier and affordable options for students on campus.

“Overall, we do give as many options as possible so students can go to the grocery store to choose more healthier and cheaper options,” Lubisich said. “We’ve been working hard to create a healthy and more affordable options for students, as well as inclusive so there are more vegan and vegetarian options or options for certain food allergies.”


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UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (12/3)
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Includes tests since August 2, 2021
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Updated December 3, 2021