Alternative and Mainstream Food Systems

Course content

The overall aim of the course is to introduce students to food systems and their actors as a framework for understanding and analyzing the development in the food sector. This will also provide a basis for handling future changes towards food systems that address societal changes. 

The course will comprise the following themes

· Food systems and food networks as conceptualizations of the complex system behind food products and as useful tool in analysis of food related developments. 

· The historical development and structure of mainstream food systems and the emergence of alternative food systems towards the end of the 20 century. This will include an overview of changing technologies; structure, location, actors as well as salient political issues characterizing food systems in different periods.

· Governance of food systems including an introduction to national and international regulation and dynamics of the policy process. This also includes questions of the power and interests of core actors as well the role of social movements.

· Key concepts and theories useful for understanding an analyzing the development and change of food systems. This includes among other things socio-material approaches to food systems,  sustainability and actor understandings. 


Msc Programme in Integrated Food Studies

Learning outcome


· Give an account of the development and present structure mainstream and alternative food systems.

· Show overview of concepts important for understanding food systems and their development.

· Have an overview of key actors, institutional environments and structures of importance for food systems and their development.

· Understand how food related policies govern food systems


· Is able map relevant actors within a given food system

· Is able to analyze societal and institutional issues of relevance for the development of food related policies or strategies.

· Can apply relevant theoretical frameworks and concepts to analyze governance of food systems


· I able to reflect on the key concepts of the theories presented, and discuss their relevance for new food systems.

· Should, using a food systems approach, able to discuss how complex issues related to the food sector can be handled. 

The type of instruction at the course will include lectures, plenary and group discussions, seminars, individual and group exercises, student presentations, project work, supervision and feedback from teachers, and peer feedback.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

None are required

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 min
The exam includes a discussion of the project report as well as questions in the curriculum.
No time for preparation.

No external censorship
More than one internal examinator.
Reexam: If the student has not handed in the project report, then an individual project report must be handed in two weeks prior to the re-exam. It must be approved before the exam.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Two internal examiners
Criteria for exam assessment

The assessment is based on the criteria given by the Learning Outcomes

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 20
  • Class Instruction
  • 4
  • Preparation
  • 44
  • Theory exercises
  • 25
  • Excursions
  • 12
  • Project work
  • 98
  • Guidance
  • 2
  • Exam
  • 1
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 1
No limit
Study Board of Food, Human Nutrition and Sports
Contracting department
  • Department of Food and Resource Economics
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinators
  • Thorkild Nielsen   (16-7f737a7d7674776f39797470777e70794b74717d7a397680396f76)
  • Mette Weinreich Hansen   (15-776f7e7e6f38816f73787c6f736d724a73707c7938757f386e75)
Saved on the 13-07-2021

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