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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 paper, which provides an interdisciplinary review of food choice.

The overall aim of this course is for students to be conversant in the major factors influencing consumer food choice.

This course also aims to link teaching and research. Therefore, throughout the semester you can expect to be engaged in both discussing research (e.g. analysing and presenting research papers) and doing research (e.g. conducting interviews with consumers about the food choices that they make).

The course provides multiple opportunities for exploration of consumer food issues outside of the classroom. Field trips include a visit to a local food waste redistribution centre, a local landfill and to a food retail outlet. Themed workshops will offer you a chance to get hands-on experience in a number of different areas (e.g. cooking Māori cuisine and offal).

Additionally, this course 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 and using technologies such as an online blackboard journal.

Finally, the course will inspire you to become an engaged citizen 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) $1,059.15
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,627.65

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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

This course involves two main teaching methods:

  1. 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) External / Societal Influences on Food Choice; (3) Internal / Individual Influences on Food Choice; (4) Consumer Decision Making Processes; and (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 macro (e.g. broad cultural issues) perspective to a micro (e.g. psychological), bringing it all together at the end of the course.
  2. Tutorials include themed 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.
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
A1 Wednesday 14:00-15:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Friday 09:00-10:50 28-34, 36-41