Food Consumer Research

Course content

An introduction to food consumer research as a scientific discipline that deals in a multi-disciplinary way with the understanding of the choices made by consumers. It builds up heavily on the knowledge of Determinants of Food Consumption.

The importance of product cues will be presented. Students will apply relevant theories of food choice, including the dual process (reasoned vs automatic) in decision making, and how to practically implement them in food consumer research. Study design for quantitative and qualitative data collection methods will be presented. The role of students in supporting evidence based policy making will be underscored.

Quantitative methods include the design of consumer questionnaires and their application online, visual data analysis, instrumental measurements, etc. The course will include relevant qualitative methods for food innovation and their quality assessment. The course will address solving practical problems related to consumers using mixed methods approach.

Students will have a course challenge consisting of the design a questionnaire, testing it, and using it for online data collection (annonymous data collection). Students will apply descriptive statistics (use of means and standard deviation, percentages and confidence intervals), as well as the segmenting of consumers using cluster analysis and profiling clusters with logistic regression using R and R Studio. Students will produce a scientific report. 

At the end of the course, students would have designed their own questionaire, they would have carried out a consumer survey online, have analysed their data using the appropriate statistical methods, and have communicated written and orally their research results.


MSc Programme in Food Innovation and Health
MSc Programme in Human Nutrition


Learning outcome

After the completion of the course the student will have acquired the following knowledge, skills and competences


  • Understand and describe food consumer science, different theories of food consumer behaviour and existing consumer segments
  • Reflect scientifically on consumer issues (e.g. health, sustainability, ethics) and their drive towards innovative food supply
  • Understand and describe food consumer research data collection methods (e.g. quantitative, qualitative and visual)
  • Understand and explain the design, testing and implementation of a questionnaire based consumer survey
  • Indicate the appropriate methods for consumer survey data analysis (descriptive and inferential statistics)
  • Explain the role of food and nutrition policy in food-related consumer decision making



  • Able to apply theories of consumer behaviour around food issues in the formulation, design and analysis of questionnaires
  • ABle to design consumer research taking in to account GDPR and ethical considerations
  • Able to administer questionnaires and collect consumer data using IT platforms
  • Able to apply principles of experimental design and statistical evaluation of consumer information
  • Able to profile consumer segments by e.g. their socio-economic status, their attitudes, values, knowledge, hedonic responses to foods, liking of food products, etc.
  • Describe the hedonic evaluation of foods
  • Communicate research results in scientific writing.



  • Students will be able to provide evidence based advice to the industry, the public sector and the societal actors regarding the relevant consumer segments
  • Students will be able to study consumer behaviour in relation to food, taking into account individual characteristics.
  • Students will be able to handle data following the ethical standards of Denmark and Europe
  • Students should be able to collaborate and contribute effectively in team work

Lectures, exercises and team work. Theoretical concepts and methods are taught in lectures. Examples of hypothetical consumer problems are worked out in exercises during lecture time. Examples of applications of food consumer research are illustrated with recent scientific papers. Problem-based team work will enable students to apply and/or to reflect on the course’s theories and methods in a practical challenge.

See Absalon for a list of course literature.


It is recommended to have basic statistical knowledge and to be acquainted with R software.
It is recommended to have understanding of the determinants of food intake and food choices.
It is recommended to have an overview of qualitative data collection methods as well as their analysis.
Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

For the data analysis in this course you need a laptop and download R and R Studio.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 2 hours under invigilation
Written assignment, during the course
The course has been selected for ITX exam on Peter Bangs Vej.

The exam grade comprises of two parts, a challenge document/report and an individual written exam.
The challenge document/report in teams (30% of the grade).
The individual written examination, which will be a multiple choice questionnaire (70% of the grade).

Both parts must be passed in order for the student to pass the course.
All aids allowed

The University will make computers and power available to students taking written exams with invigilation in the University’s building on Peter Bangs Vej 36 (ITX). Students are therefore not permitted to bring their own computers, tablets or mobile phones. If textbooks and/or notes are permitted, according to the course description, these must be in paper format or on a USB flash drive.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners.
Criteria for exam assessment

See Learning Outcome

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Class Instruction
  • 9
  • Preparation
  • 72
  • Theory exercises
  • 20
  • Project work
  • 60
  • Exam
  • 3
  • English
  • 206