Food and Consumers

University of Otago

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Food and Consumers

  • Host University

    University of Otago

  • Location

    Dunedin, New Zealand

  • Area of Study

    Nutrition and Food Science

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    FOSC 111 and 54 200-level points

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    Why do people eat what they do and how might we impact upon these choices? These are the questions explored in this course which provides an interdisciplinary review of food choice.

    The overall aim of this paper is for students to be conversant in the major factors influencing consumer food choice. This paper also aims to link teaching and research. So throughout the semester, students can expect to be engaged in both discussing consumer food research (eg critiquing and presenting research papers) and doing consumer food research (eg conducting interviews with consumers about the food choices that they make).The paper provides multiple opportunities for exploration of consumer food issues outside of the classroom with field trips and 'themed' workshops, which will offer students a chance to get hands-on experience in a number of different areas (eg cooking M?ori cuisine).

    Additionally, this paper aims to enhance the skills required by consumer food science professionals. These include: sourcing and evaluating current academic research; facilitating group discussions; assessing the work of peers; conducting semi-structured interviews; transcribing and analysing research data; using the NVivo software package to conduct advanced qualitative data analysis; writing academically; and presenting research in oral presentations.

    Finally, the course will hopefully inspire students to become engaged citizens in food-related debates.

    Learning Outcomes
    Knowledge-orientated learning outcomes are:
    -An appreciation and understanding of the complexities of consumer food choice
    -An interdisciplinary perspective of food choice
    -An ability to think critically and to grapple with complex questions about the implications of food choice
    -An understanding of a range of consumer research methods that can be used to examine consumers' food choices
    -A reflexive understanding of your own personal "food" habits

    Skill-orientated learning outcomes are:
    -To be conversant in how internal and external factors influence, and are influenced by, consumer food choice
    -Critically evaluate research (both yours and others)
    -Execute a 'real life' research project
    -An ability to partake in group discussion
    -An ability to work in a group situation
    -Communicate research and ideas via written and verbal means
    -An ability to think through your own perceptions, ideas and solutions so that you are better prepared to make thoughtful choices about food consumption and disposal

    Course Structure
    Lectures will be used to overview the key course material. These will be delivered by both the course lecturer, Miranda Mirosa, and a number of invited guest lecturers. The lectures are arranged in five major sections:
    1)Course Introduction and Overview
    2)Consumer Decision Making Processes
    3)Internal/Individual Influences on Food Choice
    4)External/Societal Influences on Food Choice
    5)The Integration of Influences on Food Choice

    The course is structured to allow for a logical development of your understanding of consumers' food choices, moving from a micro (eg psychological) to a macro (eg broad cultural issues) perspective, bringing it all together at the end of the course.

    Tutorials are divided into two major parts. For the first part, the focus of the tutorials is a consumer research project investigating consumers' eating perceptions and practices. Tutorials will be used to teach (and practise) the nuts and bolts of conducting a qualitative consumer research technique that can be used to explore the reasons behind why people do/do not eat certain foods. For the second part, tutorials include workshops and field trips related to the lecture content, as well as provide a time for delivering the group oral presentations that make up part of the internal assessment for the course.

    The psychology of food choice / edited by Richard Shepherd and Monique Raats. Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK ; Cambridge, MA : CABI in association with the Nutrition Society, c2006.

    You do not need to buy this book. You can find copies of this text book in the close reserve section in the Science Library. There is also a copy available in the Food Science library.

    Food choice and the consumer / [edited by] David Marshall.

    You do not need to buy this book. You can find copies of this text book in the close reserve section in the Science Library. There is also a copy available in the Food Science library.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.