Despite the stereotype of living on beans on toast for the years they are studying, researchers found many students are actually eating meals cooked from scratch at least five times a week.
Modern university students are also more likely to buy ingredients such as olive oil, herbs and fresh fruit and veg than previous generations, cooking up a variety of dishes such as stir-fry and pasta bake.
As a result, more than six in ten current students or recent graduates admit they resent the stereotype that they are lazy and don’t care about what they eat.
The study of 2,000 students and graduates, commissioned by Linda McCartney Foods as part of its meat free Fresher’s Week campaign; Linda on Campus, also revealed more than a third of students consider themselves to be better in the kitchen than their parents.
Forty-five per cent of those who studied within the past ten years reckon they had a healthy diet while at university, with just 38 per cent of older generations agreeing.
Sixty-three per cent put this down to there being a better education of food and what you should be eating today, while 62 per cent think access to a wider range of ingredients helps.
Half even believe a healthier and more varied diet at university is down to students being able to use the internet to find cheap and easy recipes through food websites, blogs and social media.
The average modern student also cooks something they have never tried making before four times a month, with half of today’s students claiming to be creative in the kitchen.
But just 37 per cent of those in previous generations said the same.
Researchers also found that while the student staple of baked beans was a shopping essential for 47 per cent of previous generations, just 37 per cent of today’s graduates said the same.
Instead, 46 per cent considered fresh vegetables a kitchen staple, while another 44 per cent always buy fresh fruit.
But less than 30 per cent of older students saw fresh vegetables as a key food item, while just 34 per cent said the same of fresh fruit.
With 16 per cent of students now following a vegetarian diet, and a further 19 per cent saying they would consider it, it’s no surprise that meat substitutes have also seen an increase in sales.
The number of students purchasing meat substitutes has more than doubled, with six per cent of students buying them in the past compared to 13 per cent now.
A spokesman for OnePoll, which carried out the survey for Linda McCartney Foods said: “Many people perceive students to be people who don’t ever cook and rely on nothing by takeaways, fast food and ready meals to get by during their years at university.
“But it seems modern students are becoming more creative and experimental with their food.
“Far from the stereotype, many are now cooking meals from scratch and enjoy coming up with own concoctions in the kitchen.”
This September, Linda McCartney Foods is touring campuses across the country, making Freshers’ Week a meat-free affair by offering students a range of tasty, healthy and easy to cook recipe ideas inspired by Linda.