College Marketing: Marketing Health to College Students

College Marketing: Marketing Health to College Students

College students spend a great deal of discretionary funds on food and beverages. Foodservice companies should capitalize on college students’ interest in healthier meal options and engage in college marketing techniques as a way of reaching college students.     

College students may seem unlikely candidates for health products or services given their tendencies for late night partying, heavy drinking, and overeating of junk food. However, most students care immensely about their health and staying in shape. College students are walking dichotomies. They like to maintain healthy lifestyles during the week, but when the weekend rolls around they like to let loose and have fun.

Though college students like to occasionally indulge in unhealthy behavior, they recognize the importance of maintaining their health. College students want healthy eating options and are willing to spend money to get it:

There are nearly 16 million hungry U.S. college and university students wielding more than $300 billion in spending power; however, only 28% are satisfied with the healthy foodservice offerings at their schools, according to new market data from Technomic. The findings suggest significant opportunities for foodservice suppliers and operators to grow revenues by appealing to the campus crowd.[1]

Since the majority of college students are unhappy with their school’s dining options, they will look elsewhere to find healthier choices. This represents huge potential for expansion and growth within the food industry. By offering customized dietary options catering to vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free dieters, and health conscious individuals, you can lure students to your establishment. Another great way to appeal to the college demographic is by offering seasonal, organic, and local products.

Through college marketing, you can advertise your healthy eating options and attract new customers to your business. On-campus marketing provides focused marketing efforts geared specifically towards college students. College posters, campus ads, and college newspaper advertising will draw attention to your establishment and increase brand exposure. College street teams can provide students with promotional flyers containing a call to action discount. P2P marketing enables interaction with students and their passionate energy will quickly transfer to their peers. Students are much more likely to take advice from their peers, than someone in an older demographic.

Another great college marketing idea—especially for foodservice providers—is college event marketing with a focus on college sampling. By distributing samples to college students at college campuses, students will experience your product firsthand. Company representatives can explain the health merits of your product and answer any questions students might have. This shows the students that you care about their health concerns and will leave them with a lasting impression. Contact NAM Youth Marketing today and speak with a college marketing specialist, who can help you develop a college marketing plan catering to your company’s needs.


[1] “College Students Want Healthy Dining Options”. Food Product Design. 11 August, 2011. <>


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