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FOSC308 Food and Consumers

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 (e.g. critiquing and presenting research papers) and doing consumer food research (e.g. 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 (e.g. cooking M?üori 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 paper will hopefully inspire students to become engaged citizens in food-related debates.

Paper title Food and Consumers
Paper code FOSC308
Subject Food Science
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,038.45
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,492.80

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FOSC 111 and 54 200-level points
This is a required course for all students majoring in Consumer Food Science. It is also suitable for undergraduate and diploma students of all disciplines, who have achieved at least 54 200-level points and who are interested in engaging with consumer food choice issues. Students who do not hold the FOSC 111 prerequisite may apply for special permission to take FOSC 308.
Teaching staff
Convenor and Lecturer: Dr Miranda Mirosa
A number of guest lecturers will also contribute to the paper.
Paper 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 paper is structured to allow for a logical development of your understanding of consumers' food choices, moving from a micro (e.g. psychological) to a macro (e.g. broad cultural issues) perspective, bringing it all together at the end of the paper.

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 paper.
Teaching Arrangements
Contact time is 4 hours per week. You will be expected to spend approximately 4 hours outside these contact hours on study per week. This time will be spent reading the recommended readings and working on the internal assessment.

NOTE: Attendance to all tutorial sessions is compulsory for this paper and is a terms requirement.
  • 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.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Environmental literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
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

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Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Wednesday 14:00-15:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
T1 Friday 09:00-10:50 28-34, 36-41