Perhaps unsurprisingly, there was a positive correlation between a student's academic year and the number of times they go grocery shopping per month. That is, upperclassmen tend to shop for groceries more than first-years. A similar trend is seen with off campus dining and ordering out.
Some obvious factors for this include upperclassmen being able to keep a car on campus, a growing distaste for the cafeteria, paired with a better opportunity to prepare food in suites rather than in the first year dorms, a generally increased comfort with the city and the stores therein. In addition, there is a tendency to choose a more conservative meal plan, while obviously making a tradeoff therein with increased grocery shopping.
Considering the average college student's cost of living in terms of groceries in Kalamazoo City is a little over $150/month, or $375/term, one can begin to question the range over Sudexho's meal plan prices, ranging from just over $1000/term to nearly $2000/term.
This shows that while meal plans are certainly more convenient, there is a sharp difference of in price between meal plans and preparing your own food that one should consider when making decisions for future meals.