The Challenge

Sodexo provides food and facilities management services for universities all over the world. The company wanted to get a better understanding of the university experience in multiple countries, to develop a clear point of view and establish itself as a global thought leader in this area.

YouthSight had previously worked successfully with Sodexo on similar thought-leadership studies focusing on the UK, which generated significant press coverage. Sodexo now asked us to do the same thing across six countries: the UK, the US, Spain, Italy, India and China.


The Solution

YouthSight managed the full global survey project in all six countries, from recruitment and sampling to fieldwork, analysis and reporting. Sodexo benefited from a single point of contact throughout the project, making it as easy as possible to manage.

Rather than simply supplying data, the YouthSight team made sure findings were presented in a way that was easy for Sodexo’s stakeholders in all six countries to understand and apply.

“The business had seen that the University Lifestyle Survey had been really successful in the UK. The idea this time was to help position us as a global player.”
Clare Collins, Press and PR Director, Sodexo

The Outcome

This project resulted in a unique piece of global research, revealing fresh, valuable insights into university life globally, and enabling international comparisons.

For example, the survey highlighted the differences between countries based on how much students have to pay towards their education. One third of UK students are concerned about debt after graduating, compared with only a quarter globally.

It also revealed students’ expectations regarding food service, finding that 60% of UK students expect vegetarian or vegan food to be available at their university’s catering or retail outlets, and 49% expect “free-from” food.

The findings generated significant press coverage for Sodexo in a number of key markets (including in the UK’s Facilities Management Journal, FM World and Hospitality & Catering News), and helped establish them as an authoritative global voice on student life.

What next?

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