German word of the day: Studentenfutter

Freya Jones
Freya Jones - [email protected]
German word of the day: Studentenfutter
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Shopping? If you’ve read the packaging on nuts, seeds, and dried fruit in Austrian supermarkets, you might have seen this word among the mix…


What does it mean?

Literally das Studentenfutter, which sounds like this, translates as “student food” or even “animal feed for students” as “futter” is usually seen in the context of pets and livestock. What it really refers to is a ready-to-eat mixture of nuts, raisins and other dried fruit, sold together in small snack bags. Essentially trail mix, for the Americans among our readers.

And it might sound similar, but the word differs from Drachenfutter, or a little gift to placate someone, especially a spouse.

So how did it get this name?

The story behind Studentenfutter is an interesting one. There are reports from as early as the 17th century that almonds can help to relieve a hangover, and were therefore eaten for an energy boost by heavy-drinking students in German-speaking nations at the time. This is even mentioned in West-östliche Divan, an 1819 piece of work by German poet and polymath Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

The almonds (with raisons added) where said to give these students the energy to concentrate through long days of lectures. Over the years, other things like walnuts, berries and cashews were added to the reviving snack.

Because almonds were expensive, it makes sense that they were a go-to for those who were rich enough to afford a university education. Now, however, bags of Studentenfutter are usually a bit cheaper than the individual bags of nuts and dried fruit you can find in the supermarket.

They are viewed as a healthy alternative snack to sweets and chocolate, and you'll often find Austrians have a bag in their rucksack, ready for when hunger strikes. 


What to look out for:

Bio-Studentenfutter - organic trail mix

Unser Studentenfutter kann Spuren von Gluten enthalten

Our trail mix may contain traces of gluten

Gönn dir eine Handvoll unserer knusprigen Studentenfuttermischung!

Treat yourself to a handful of our crunchy trail mix!



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